Lung cancer kills 1.2 million people each year, more than any other cancer in developed countries. Although tobacco use accounts for the vast majority of cancer cases, environmental factors like air pollution have long been a cause for concern. Recent studies have shown a strong link between exposure to outdoor air pollution, even at low ambient levels, and a number of adverse health outcomes, including an increase in mortality and morbidity from non-malignant cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well as lung cancer.
Lung cancer is the most deadly type of cancer, and it also has the most well-established causes. It is the second most prevalent cancer overall among men and ranks first among all new cases of cancer in both sexes. Lung cancer accounts for 18% of all cancer deaths, which is concerning given that it contributes to 11% of the total number of new cases of cancer each year.
Smoking is the main cause of lung cancer, accounting for up to 90% of cases. Smoking increases the risk of lung cancer by 10–30 times; quitting smoking reduces that risk by 20–90%, and the effects of quitting smoking become apparent within 5 years. After 15 years of quitting, the risk is reduced by 80–90%. It has been discovered that smoking less is just as beneficial as quitting, particularly for heavy smokers, who see a risk reduction of almost a third.
One of the numerous negative effects of air pollution on health is lung cancer. Sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter (PM) are examples of gaseous pollutants that contribute to air pollution. These pollutants are major components of the measured Air Quality Index (AQI) as defined by the Clean Air Act. PM is a major concern among pollutants because it causes chronic low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress, which leads to genetic mutation and cancer. Particulate Matter (PM) is classified according to its size. The majority of PM larger than 10 µm are unable to pass through the nose or windpipe and do not deposit in the lungs. The largest inhalable particles are known as PM10 and are less than 10 micrometers in size. PM2.5 and nanoparticles (size 0.1 µm) are two other types of fine particulate matter that are included in PM10. PM pollution is frequently measured and regulated using its mass concentration ( µg/m3). According to WHO standards, PM2.5 levels should be less than 10 g/m3.
Outdoor pollution and PM are categorized as group 1 human carcinogens for lung cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). More than 250,000 cases of lung cancer are caused by PM2.5 air pollution each year, making it the second-leading cause of lung cancer-related deaths after smoking. According to the data, each 10 µg/m3 increase in PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations over WHO air quality guidelines results in an 8% and 9% increase in lung cancer incidence and deaths, respectively. What’s more frightening is that recent data suggests the risk could be as high as 14%.
Children, the elderly, diabetics, people with heart and lung disease, and people who work or exercise outside are especially vulnerable.
Measures to reduce air pollution-related cancers are difficult to implement due to the numerous sources of pollution and a lack of understanding of the risk. We must think about ways to reduce air pollution. Lung cancer is a particularly difficult medical problem. It is linked to a high morbidity and mortality rate. Air pollution is a growing public health emergency that requires immediate attention at both the public health and policy levels. It is time to pay attention to that because prevention is always preferable to treatment.
Despite every preventive measure, more and more people across the globe fall prey to the fateful disease. In these instances, an early diagnosis increases the chance of survival. If you or any of your close ones are diagnosed with lung cancer, don’t panic. There are treatments that help in the recovery of a patient. SPDT4Life offers patients a range of natural alternative cancer treatments along with chemotherapy, surgery, or radiotherapy. The hospital has been successfully using SPDT (Sonophotodynamic Therapy) which is a non-toxic method and has no side effects to help lung cancer patients recover with impressive results.