Mother died from BAC at 49 – what are my chances?

Portal Forums Lung/Thoracic Cancer Screening / Prevention Mother died from BAC at 49 – what are my chances?

This topic contains 10 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Dr West Dr West 4 years, 10 months ago.

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May 17, 2013 at 2:02 pm  #1256494    

doubletime

I never lived with mother but maintained long distance relationship, she died awhile back at 49 – she was a cigarette smoker for 20 years. She has 5 sisters and 2 brothers who are in their late 50’s and are doing well.

I am a 30 year old male with strong pot smoking history for 10 years straight. I quit 2 years ago and I never once smoked a cigarette.

What are my chances of development LC? Also what genes should I test? And what to do if these test turn out positive for these genes…i understand there is no preventative measures besides reducing risk factors like avoiding tobacco, 2nd hand smoke, radon and asbestos.

May 17, 2013 at 4:21 pm  #1256495    
JimC Forum Moderator
JimC Forum Moderator

Hi doubletime,

Although a family history of cancer can raise concerns, the fact that your mother was a 20-year smoker makes it much more likely that smoking, rather than genetics, was the major cause of her lung cancer. As certified genetic counselor Robert Resta stated in his post “What is the Genetic Component of Lung Cancer?”:

“Despite the strong influence of cigarette smoking on lung cancer risk, genetics no doubt plays some – likely small – role. Studies of lung cancer in families have shown a slightly greater risk of developing lung cancer among relatives of lung cancer patients. Overall, though, if you have lung cancer, the vast majority of your non-smoking siblings, children, cousins and other relatives will never develop lung cancer.” – http://cancergrace.org/lung/2008/08/29/resta-genetic-risk-lung-ca/

He goes on to state:

“Some studies have found that certain genetic markers may be associated with a slightly higher or lower risk of developing lung cancer. However, no genetic test can reliably predict who will or will not develop lung cancer, either among smokers or non-smokers.”

And he concludes: “If you have a relative with lung cancer, and you are not a smoker, the odds are very low that you will develop lung cancer.”

Live long and prosper! ;)

JimC
Forum moderator


Jul 2008 Wife Liz (51/never smoker) Dx Stage IV NSCLC EGFR exon 19
4 cycles Carbo/alimta, 65% shrinkage
Tarceva maintenance
Mar 2010 progression, added Alimta, stable
Sep 2010 multiple brain mets, WBR
Oct 2010 large pericardial effusion, tamponade
Jan 2011 progression, start abraxane
Jun 2011-New liver, brain mets, add Tarceva
Oct 2011-Dx Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis; pulsed Tarceva
At rest Nov 4 2011
Since then: http://cancergrace.org/blog/jim-and-lisa

May 17, 2013 at 6:36 pm  #1256497    
Dr West
Dr West

If you are concerned enough, you can seek a consultation with a genetics counselor. The risk conferred from pot smoking isn’t especially well defined, and while someone with a first degree relative does have an increased risk, the contribution from genetics is relatively small, as Jim rightly noted.

Good luck.

-Dr. West

June 30, 2013 at 2:20 pm  #1257643    

doubletime

Thanks for replies so much.

Also if you lose parent to lung cancer, does the son/daughter need to begin lung cancer screening at 10-15 years earlier from parents diagnosis?

My concerns that I my past marijuana smoking, daily for 10-12 years will come back to haunt me later in life, since my mother quit too for over 4 years before she was Dx.. I’ve been looking into vaporizing marijuana to help with anxiety issues, vaporizers reduce harmful carcinogens significantly. Is this bad idea? I understand both tobacco and marijuana have same toxins but for some reasons tobacco is more deadlier.

I read media reports of 70% chance of developing lung cancer if lung cancer sibling is a smoker.

I just had a baby boy, so I now worry of passing off young to such a unpredictable diseases.

June 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm  #1257645    
Dr West
Dr West

I think there’s very little actual evidence about the different ways of ingesting marijuana and the risk of lung cancer. I can’t say what the risk of vaporized marijuana might be.

At the present time, the only role that has been established for screening is in patients who smoked at least 30 pack-years, quit within the last 10 years (I think) or continue to smoke, and are between 55 and 75. There is no current recommendation for lung cancer screening outside of these guidelines, including in family members of people who have developed lung cancer.

Good luck.

-Dr. West

June 30, 2013 at 8:50 pm  #1257647    

doubletime

Thanks Dr. West.

I’m going cold turkey. Dr. West do you recommend anything from this point on? I hope odds are in my favor of developing this deadly disease.

June 30, 2013 at 10:30 pm  #1257650    
Dr West
Dr West

I don’t know of any specific recommendations to offer here. Good luck.

-Dr. West

July 1, 2013 at 9:38 am  #1257656    

doubletime

Got it. It looks like the research I have been doing it seems like a slight increased risk but nothing to lose sleep over. I guess when i turn around 40 I will ask for a low dose ct scan every year to catch it early.

July 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm  #1257660    
Dr West
Dr West

Yes, that’s essentially it. A slightly increased risk, but if someone’s risk is low to begin with, slightly increasing that risk will typically still leave it in the range of low risk.

-Dr. West

July 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm  #1257716    

doubletime

One more thing Dr. West. Will seeing a genetic counselor help finding certain genes that will give Doctors a reason to screen me early for lung cancer?

I have kaiser insurance and made an appointment. However when I talked to staff member they seemed clueless when I brought up testing for lung cancer genes. Any specific type of gene to look for like EGFR, KRAS OR ALK?

Thanks again

July 3, 2013 at 7:21 pm  #1257721    
Dr West
Dr West

No, genetic screening for lung cancer isn’t typically done at this time, and there’s no role for that kind of testing for EGFR, KRAS, or ALK mutations in people who don’t have lung cancer.

-Dr. West

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