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Each breath could be lethal for them

/ August 17, 2016 /

To be diagnosed with cancer is devastating for most people; to then find that the very air you breathe could shorten your lifespan drastically is indeed terrifying. A population study in the US has found that air pollution is lethal for lung cancer patients. Researchers worked on data available with the US California Cancer Registry, following up on patients who were diagnosed with lung cancer between 1988 and 2009. The progress of more than 3,52,000 lung cancer patients was followed until 2011. The patients’ area of residence was used to gather data from air quality monitoring stations of the US Environmental Protection Agency; this data looked at the how much the patients were exposed to nitrogen dioxide, ozone and various kinds of particulate matter.

Air pollution has long been linked with lung cancer but researchers were keen to study the effects of air pollution on those diagnosed with the disease and their prognosis hence. The study reliably concluded that air pollution does prove fatal for those diagnosed with lung cancer, especially those in the early stages of adenocarcinoma, which is the most commonly occurring non-small cell lung cancer. Adenocarcinoma makes up for almost 80 per cent of all diagnosed cases of lung cancer.

Among those who participated in the study, around half lived 1,500 miles away from a main interstate motorway while only less than 10 per cent lived within 300 miles of the same. After accounting for other influencing factors, it was found that the participants’ exposure to the specific pollutants studied was linked to increased chances of death and smaller average and five-year rates of survival. For those with early stage disease, the risk was significantly higher, by between 26-38 per cent for each of the pollutants except for ozone, which did not seem to have much of an impact on survival. The details of the study were published in Thorax, one of the world’s leading journals on respiratory medicine.

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