[Chinese and Western Medicine Viewpoint]Inflammation of Lung Cells Helps to Get Cancer Without Smoking or Alcohol
Text: Su Ziqian (Honorary Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Oncology, The University of Hong Kong, registered Chinese medicine practitioner)
More and more lung cancer patients are non-smokers. These patients will ask: I never smoke or drink, why do I get lung cancer?
(Hong Kong News) In recent years, biomedical research has found that the cause of lung cancer is related to the inflammation of certain cells in the lungs. Coincidentally, traditional Chinese medicine believes that most lung cancer patients have deficiency of lung yin and fire in the lungs.
How to master the knowledge of both Chinese and Western medicine to reduce the risk of lung cancer?
Cancer cells undergo 3 stages of mutation
Normal cells develop into cancer, which can be divided into 3 stages, which are:
◆Cancer initiation period (tumour promotion)
In order for normal cells to become aggressive cancer cells, they must first go through these three stages of mutation. If any situation can block the mutation of these three stages, the cancer cells will be eliminated in the bud, and they will not be able to develop into cancers that harm the body.
The easiest to understand is the third stage of cancer development. When the cell mutation reaches the final stage, the body’s immunity is the last thing to keep the pass. If there is insufficient immunity to prevent the cancer cells from breaking through the third stage, a true cancer will develop.
Tobacco carcinogens damage lung cells
The initial stage of cancer is mainly related to the genetic mutation of cells. The second stage of cancer initiation, the study found that it is closely related to the inflammation of cell tissue.
Taking lung cancer as an example, the traditional perception is that reducing smoking will reduce the risk of lung cancer, because there are many carcinogens in tobacco, and these carcinogens can damage normal lung cell genes and cause lung cell gene mutations.
As the patient gets older and the number of years of smoking increases, the body’s gene repair mechanism cannot fully restore the gene damage caused by tobacco carcinogens, and normal lung tissue cells have gene mutations (gene mutations are like street garbage, when the garbage accumulates more, but the number of scavengers is getting smaller and smaller, and the accumulation of garbage will stink), causing the cells to grow uncontrollably, which is the initial stage of the first stage of cancer.
But if there are only lung cells with mutations in the first stage, without the “assistance” of the second stage of cancer initiation, these mutated cells cannot fully form into cancer. In the past, it was not sure what was “assisting”, but now research has found that tissue inflammation is the second stage of assisting.
It turns out that when lung cells are inflamed for a long time, they will attract macrophages (tumour associated macrophages) to the inflamed cells. These macrophages in the lungs will continuously secrete inflammatory factors, which can promote the development of the first stage of genetic mutation. cells, grow faster and become cancerous.
Suppressing Inflammation Reduces Risk of Lung Cancer
A large-scale study (CANTOS trial) published a few years ago, the original goal of the study was to inhibit an inflammatory factor (interleukin 1 beta, hereinafter referred to as IL-1β) in the body through an immunoglobulin, hoping to use this drug to reduce recurrent myocardial infarction (Because myocardial infarction caused by coronary artery blockage has a lot to do with blood vessel inflammation).
This large study accidentally found that the study participants were injected with drugs to suppress IL-1β to reduce body inflammation, and the incidence of lung cancer was also reduced; and the higher the dose, the lower the incidence of lung cancer. This inadvertently confirmed that clinically, if the lung inflammation can be suppressed, the incidence of lung cancer can indeed be reduced (of course, this drug cannot be used to treat lung cancer).
Back to non-smokers, why do they get lung cancer? In Hong Kong, many non-smokers suffer from lung cancer with unique gene mutations, the most common being EGFR gene mutations. This type of lung cancer is well known to be treatable with targeted drugs targeting EGFR mutations.
So, why do gene mutations like EGFR appear in lung cells? Although the answer is not completely clear, recent studies have found that it may be related to genetic damage due to age; that is, unlike smokers, they are not exposed to special carcinogens, but the ability of lung cells to repair normal gene mutation cells, which increases with age. Hypofunction.
A recent study even found that some lung tissue cells were extracted from people without lung cancer for detection, and normal lung tissue cells can also carry EGFR gene mutations. So, that is to say, it is not just EGFR gene mutation that will definitely cause lung cancer.
PM2.5 particles cause lung inflammation
The other key turned out to be air pollution. PM2.5 particles in the air can cause inflammation in the lungs, promoting the second stage of cancer initiation. The higher the concentration of PM2.5 particles in the atmosphere, the higher the probability of this type of EGFR lung cancer.
This result has relative research support both in laboratory mice and in public health statistics. Therefore, air pollution causes lung inflammation, which may be a major cause of lung cancer.
In addition, smoking affects the first stage and the second stage at the same time, because on the one hand, smoking provides carcinogens, which cause gene mutations in the first stage, and directly lead to long-term inflammation of the lungs.
Inflammation of the lungs
sufficient sleepquit spicyCan reduce fire
In terms of traditional Chinese medicine, traditional Chinese medicine has always believed that lung cancer patients have a deficiency of lung yin and a deficiency of fire. Lungs with asthenic fire, converted to modern terms, actually means that the lungs have long-term inflammation.
Symptoms of asthenic fire in the lungs include prolonged dry cough, dry throat, dry skin, and susceptibility to exogenous pathogens. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that using simple diet therapy, such as Radix Ginseng, Ophiopogon japonicus, and pears, is a simple way to nourish yin and reduce fire.
to the suburbs for exercise
In addition, to reduce lung fire, you must have enough sleep, avoid eating spicy and hot food, and avoid frequent anger. There is also a basis for these life adjustments to be transferred to modern medicine, because adequate sleep can help repair DNA damage (first stage), and frequent consumption of high-calorie and other hot foods can promote cell inflammation (second stage), so Chinese and Western medicine are sometimes indeed in the same strain.
The method of nourishing the lungs in traditional Chinese medicine also includes frequent exercising in the suburbs. The so-called lung qi needs to be stretched, which means that you should go to places with good air in the suburbs and do more deep breathing exercises to promote lung health. This is the same reason that qigong practitioners should practice in suburban areas with low traffic; avoiding inhaling polluted air in cities can indeed reduce lung inflammation.
Interestingly, when buying a house according to the conventional wisdom, you generally don’t want to buy a house on the busiest street, but like to live in a quiet environment, and even buy a large house in the suburbs. It turns out that there is indeed a healthy meaning in it.