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My Expats World | Air pollution causes lung cancer

Air Pollution

The latest research made at Sir Gangaram Hospital in India, reveals that today children are exposed to toxic air right after birth. That leads to the increase of lung cancer among non-smokers and women.

 According to the data of the Lung Care Foundation, 50% of people, who have a lung cancer, are non-smokers. The study took 6 years (2012-2018) to research 150 lung cancer patients. It was also disclosed that 70% of these people were less than 50 years old and they didn’t ever smoke. 

Pollution and lung cancer

An oncologist and a chairman of the hospital, Dr. Arvind Kumar, assures that today the air we breathe contains the same element as cigarette smoke. This element is called carcinogen whose particulate matter reaches 2.5.

This amount is harmful for human beings. “These fine particles can get deep into the lungs and bloodstream and carry the risk of damaging your heart and lungs.” (US Environment Protection Agency) Moreover, since 2013, World Health Organisation (WHO) characterized ambient air pollution as a cancer causing agent. 

Additionally, Dr A.Kumar claims that “30 or 40 years ago people were affected by outdoor pollution in their 20s only. And mainly it was caused by cigarette smoke. Usually it takes around 25 years of contact with this element in order to get a serious damage. So, back in that time in India, the main cancer patients were in their 50s and 60s. Today, on average Indians are diagnosed with lung cancer in their 30s and 40s. It’s only because the air pollution is affecting people once they left the womb. 

Non-smoking population on the rise

lung cancer
Credit: IndiaSpend

As it is visible in a chart of the study, “lung cancer is affecting young urban Indians with little exposure to bio mass and other traditional cooking fuels”. Additionally, most of these patients are diagnosed with lung cancer at the 3rdor 4thstage.  Moreover, the study also revealed that 8 of 10 kids in Delhi have damaged lungs and this state is irreversible. This situation is incomparable with more developed countries.

WHO’s data

 According to the WHO, “globally, ambient air pollution is estimated to cause about 16% of the lung cancer deaths, 25% of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths, about 17% of ischaemic heart disease and stroke, and about 26% of respiratory infection deaths.” 

 It’s a terrible alarm that shows how important is to act now! 

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