Scientists reveal how to prevent lung cancer
Lungs have an ability to repair some of the damage caused by smoking - but only if you stop, say scientists.
The mutations that lead to lung cancer had been considered to be permanent, and to persist even after quitting. But the findings, published in Nature, show the few cells that escape damage can repair the lungs.
The study analysed lung biopsies from 16 people, including current smokers, ex-smokers, adults who had never smoked and children, looking for the mutations that can lead to cancer.
The thousands of chemicals in tobacco smoke corrupt and mutate the DNA in lung cells - slowly transforming them from healthy to cancerous, BBC reported.
The overwhelming majority of cells taken from a smoker's airways had been mutated by tobacco, with cells containing up to 10,000 genetic alterations.
But a small proportion of cells went unscathed. After someone quits smoking, it is these cells that grow and replace the damaged cells in the lungs.