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Paolo Boffetta – How Does Smoking Lead to Cancer


Studies worldwide say smoking is the primary cause of cancer that can be prevented by an individual. A cigarette contains many toxic chemicals that have the potential to damage the DNA in cells. In fact, 85% of lung cancer is caused due to smoking. At the same smoking also contributes to cancers in the bladder, esophageal, neck, and head.

Paolo Boffetta – Smoking and its adverse effects on the cells in your body

Paolo Boffetta is an esteemed epidemiologist and Director of the Institute for Translational Epidemiology currently involved in cancer research. Epidemiology is the healthcare arena that focuses on the incidence, distribution, and the potential control of illnesses, diseases, and other factors related to health. In this field, trained epidemiologists pay attention to and study patterns, causes, and the effect of an illness or disease in the human population.

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It offers scientific footings as evidence that permits the placement of strategies for the improvement of public health. The field depends upon social sciences, biology, biostatistics, and the assessment of risks that expose threats.

Carcinogens present in cigarette smoke affects DNA

Dr. Boffetta says smoking and alcohol consumption are the two main causes of cancer across the world.When it comes to cancer research with regard to smoking, he says the discovery that smoke from cigarettes causes cancer came out approximately in the 1960s. Scientists observed molecules in the smoke with carcinogens can bind to the DNA of the cell. As DNA is regarded to be your blueprint for healthy living, it is obvious that anything strong enough to corrupt the DNA will cause trouble.

Smoke in cigarettes- what do they contain?

There are about 7000 and more different chemicals present in the smoke of cigarettes, and above 70 of them are carcinogens. One of the most studied carcinogens of them all is benzol[a]pyrene, also known as BP. BP is that ring-shaped chemical known as a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon that is created when you burn any organic matter, for instance, the leaf of a tobacco plant. When this smoke goes inside the body of a person, it has the ability to correct the DNA in cells leading to mutations causing cancer. Note, BP is also found in the smoke of soot, coal tar, charred meat, and car exhaust systems.

Like several foreign chemicals absorbed by the body, BP is generally processed by enzymes so that it becomes water-soluble. This transformation again permits the kidneys in the body to excrete these foreign chemicals via urine; however, the water-soluble form of BP known as epoxides is the best when it comes to binding strongly with the DNA in the cell.

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As stated by Paolo Boffetta, the cells in the human body can remove a few of these adducts with special DNA repair enzymes. However, in some cases, these adducts stay stuck to the DNA in the cell resulting in a multitude of problems. The mouth, lungs, and bladder are the most common places for cancers caused by smoking as they are the locations where these epoxides are created and travel to the maximum.


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