Can your toenails predict lung cancer?

Your toenails grow slowly, at a rate of about 1 centimeter per year.  Because they act as a sort of long term record keeper, researchers at the University of San Diego in California were prompted to examine them in a project to determine if the amount of nicotine found in them would correlate to the likelihood of cancer development.

Their findings showed that individuals with clippings found to have the highest level of nicotine were more than three times more likely to get cancer in the 12 years of observation than those with low levels present.  These findings could pave the way to better screening and diagnostics for those smokers at risk, as well as non-smokers affected by passive, second-hand smoke. More than ten per cent of men with the highest levels of toenail nicotine were never smokers, making this study particularly relevant to anyone exposed to smoke.

“We knew tobacco was harmful, but we are now learning it is even more harmful than we had previously measured,” Al-Delaimy, who lead the study, says. “We are getting a better estimate of the true risk of tobacco’s lung effects. And this could be applied to other disease outcomes such as coronary heart disease, too.”

The findings aren’t a shock to tobacco and health expert Michael Eriksen, ScD, director of the institute of public health atGeorgia State University.  “As this study shows, evidence of exposure to smoke can be found throughout the entire body — even the tips of your toes — and that this exposure to smoke increases the risk of lung cancer,” Eriksen told WebMD.

When was the last time you had a professional check up?  Would you like to learn more about foot and ankle health by reading a FREE book? Show your feet the respect they deserve by scheduling an appointment to see Dr. Weinert for a thorough assessment and advice specific to your needs.  You can do this by filling out the appointment request form on our website, or by calling one of our offices.  Our Troy office can be reached at 248-362-3338 and our Warren office can be reached at 586-751-3338


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