Jun 19, 2019 | Updated: 09:31 AM EDT

Air Pollution Induces Lung Cancer Too: Here’s What You Should Know

May 05, 2017 01:05 AM EDT

WHO: Air pollution leading cause of cancer
(Photo : Al Jazeera English/Youtube)

Air pollution is one of the major problems that the world is facing today. Not only does it destroy the environment, it is also as deadly and harmful to our health as it can be.

According to American Lung Cancer Society, as of 2017, there are about 222,500 new cases of lung cancer and about 155,870 deaths that are caused by lung cancer in the United States. Most people think that acquiring lung cancer is mostly caused by cigarette smoking and its second-hand smoke, but air pollution causes lung cancer as well.

Air pollution, specifically particle pollution is greatly associated with lung cancer. Particle pollution is a mixture of solid and liquid particles and chemicals that comes from smoke, fumes from factories and other biological components.

Particle pollution also increases the risk of early death, heart disease, asthma attack and could affect lung growth. These particles are just a tiny fraction of the human hair and much smaller than a grain of sand. Ongoing researches are still conducted to determine how much and how the different compounds in these particles affect the human health.

In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that particulate matter causes lung cancer. This matter is classified as a cancer-causing agent, also known as the human carcinogen. Studies say, when inhaled, these particles change the DNA that may also lead to chronic inflammation in the immune system.

In the same year, an 8-year-old girl from China was diagnosed with lung cancer. This made her the youngest lung cancer patient. According to her doctor, her lung cancer was caused by air pollution, this makes absolute sense since the girl, as reported by The Guardian, was living beside a busy road with high particle pollution concentration.

Exposure to air pollution can be lessened but it requires a large amount of effort. Some areas have high Air Quality Index and the higher the AQI, the larger the immediate health risk is involved. In terms of day-to-day basis, staying indoors when your local AQI is high is the best option.

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