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Is there a risk of Pulmonary Carcinosarcoma in a chain smoker?

Apr 2013
User rating for this question
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Answered by

General Surgeon
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 5682 Questions
Good evening...I am a 27 year old male (smoked 1/2 pack a day for 4 years before quitting 2 years ago)...My grandmother survived a rare cancer called Uterine Carcinosarcoma when she was in her late 60s (she is now 87). She had hormone replacement therapy and the doctor credited her condition to that...her father had Pulmonary Carcinosarcoma when he was in his late 60s. I was told that he was a heavy smoker in his day. My question is: what does my future risk for this type of tumor look like. Obviously I do not have a uteris, but I am curious about how much risk for this type of tumor somewhere else I have. I read that pulmonary carcinosarcoma only has an incidence rate of .023/100,000 per even if you multiplied that by 100 I am still pretty low risk right? Even if there is a genetic susceptibility to this tumor in the family, wouldn't the absolute risk still be extremely low because the tumor is so rare?
Posted Thu, 26 Dec 2013 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Hi and welcome to XXXXXXX Detailed Answer: Thanks for the query. Yes,you are right. There are genetic predisposition for this type of lung cancer (as almost in every other cancer) ,but since these tumors are rarity, overally risk is very low,almost negligible,especially if you dont smoke anymore. Pulmonary carcinosarcoma is usually found in smokers, +65,more common in men. There are no proved relations between uterine and pulmonary carcinosarcoma considering genetics. So I dont think you should be worried about this disease,especially not in your age now. There are many other tumors with 100x higher incidence,but this should not make people anxious. You cant change your genetics,but you can live healthy life,eat healthy food,avoid risk factors such as smoking and alcohol and stress. It can prevent heart and other lung diseases which are much more common than those cancers you are afraid of. I dont think that you need any preventional tests if you dont smoke anymore. Sometimes, patohistology result of carcinosarcoma is false,especially if done by unexperienced patologist and so many years ago. so it is questionable was it carcinosarcoma at all. All in all, there is no point of calculating incidences and possibilities of such rare diseases.It can only be stressful for you. You are too young to think about malignant diseases.Enjoy in your life and stay away from ciggaretes. Wish you good health. Feel free to ask. Regards
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Follow-up: Is there a risk of Pulmonary Carcinosarcoma in a chain smoker? 7 minutes later
Thank you, My grandmothers doctors credited her tumor to hormone replacement as the cause, and my great grandfather's was credited to heavy smoking for many years. Even if there is a genetic component here, smoking would still needed to manifest the tumor correct? Also, the fact that they were both almost 70 at the time is a good sign for me right? I read somewhere that cancer diagnosis in the family at younger ages confers a higher risk than old age diagnosis in the that true?
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 33 minutes later
Brief Answer: Hi Detailed Answer: Yes,HRT is risk factor for some female cancers in late age including this one. Smoking is the main risk factors for almost every lung cancers. Of course,that doesnt mean that it cant be found in young nonsmokers but this is extremely rare. Also,when I am talking about smoking,I mean heavy smoking and this is more than 20 years,15-20 ciggaretes per day. Incidence that you ve mentioned was calculated when considering all patients wizh this tumor. If only nonsmokers were counted the incidence would about 100-200x smaller so it is actually negligible. Carcinosarcoma of any origin is typically found in +60. There are only about 20 reported cases in scientific literature in young people,usually breast and uterine cancers. Your last statement is true for most cancers including this one. Studies confirms that some type of cancer can be found in up to 20% cases in people who lived more than 70. this was based on autopsies where those cancers are found, but of course most of these deaths were not caused by these cancers.So someone who lives 85 years will have about 50% chances of suffering from cancer which may or may not be symptomatic. Older people have weaker immune system, higher risk of DNA mutations, longer exposure to sunlight, more fragile DNA components and many other risk factors which promote carcinogenesis. Genetic in this age has just minor role. It has much bigger role in young people so some tumors such as leukemias,lymphomas, colon and breast cancers are mainly genetically determined so it can be found in younger age. But carcinosarcoma is not one of them.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Is there a risk of Pulmonary Carcinosarcoma in a chain smoker? 28 minutes later
Thank you so know more about Cancer than anyone I have ever met. If I ever get the unlucky hit, I hope to have someone as knowledgeable as you.
Answered by Dr. Ivan R. Rommstein 12 hours later
Brief Answer: Hi Detailed Answer: You are welcome. And I hope that you wont need me or any other surgeon or oncologist in your life:)
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