Lung cancer lies dormant for years

Researchers have discovered that lung cancers can lie dormant for more than 20 years before turning into an aggressive form of the disease.

In a study of seven patients – smokers, ex-smokers and never smokers – UK researchers found cancer can exist undetected for many years after the first genetic mistakes until additional faults trigger rapid growth of the disease.

During this expansion there is a surge of different genetic faults appearing in separate areas of the tumour, according to their study published in the journal Science.

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