Why air pollution can cause lung cancer

Credit: Jacek Dylag/Unsplash.

A group of international researchers has conducted an extensive study on how air pollution can cause lung cancer.

Previous research had shown a strong link between some types of air pollution and lung cancer.

However, it was difficult to pinpoint exactly how air pollution could lead to the development of lung cancer due to the wide variety of particles in air pollution.

The researchers analyzed medical records of patients from Canada, Taiwan, South Korea, and the UK who developed lung cancer and had a gene mutation called EFGR.

It had previously been associated with an increased likelihood of developing lung cancer.

The team found that the lung cancers in these patients were more likely to occur in those exposed to particles that were 2.5 micrometers in diameter or less, which could easily penetrate deep into the lungs.

Next, the team conducted tests on mice engineered to carry the EFGR mutation. The mice were more likely to develop lung cancer when exposed to fine particulate air pollution.

However, the researchers found that the air pollution itself did not cause new mutations, but instead contributed to conditions that incite preexisting cells predisposed to mutation to begin doing so.

The researchers suggest that air pollution is not a direct cause of mutations in the lungs that lead to lung cancer, but instead incites preexisting cells to begin to mutate due to inflammation.

This theory was strengthened when the test mice were given drugs that reduced their chances of developing lung cancer.

The study’s findings are important because they help identify the underlying mechanism by which air pollution causes lung cancer.

Knowing this can help inform future efforts to mitigate the health risks associated with air pollution.

How to prevent lung cancer

There is no guaranteed way to prevent lung cancer, but there are steps you can take to lower your risk of developing it:

Don’t smoke: Smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do to prevent lung cancer. Avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke is also important.

Avoid exposure to radon: Radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into buildings and increase the risk of lung cancer. You can have your home tested for radon and take steps to reduce exposure if levels are high.

Limit exposure to air pollution: Air pollution, particularly fine particulate matter, can increase the risk of lung cancer.

Avoid exercising outdoors on days when air quality is poor and take steps to reduce your exposure to air pollution.

Protect yourself from workplace hazards: Some workplace exposures, such as asbestos, can increase the risk of lung cancer. Follow safety guidelines and wear protective equipment when working around hazardous materials.

Get screened: If you are at high risk of developing lung cancer, such as if you have a history of smoking, you may benefit from regular lung cancer screenings. Talk to your doctor about whether screening is appropriate for you.

Remember, early detection and treatment of lung cancer can improve outcomes, so it’s important to see your doctor right away if you experience any symptoms such as persistent cough, chest pain, or shortness of breath.

If you care about lung health, please read studies about why Viagra may be useful in treating lung diseases, and scientists find herbal supplement to treat lung cancer.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about gum disease linked to impaired lung function, and results showing COVID-19 is not just a respiratory illness, it can cause strokes too.

The study was conducted by William Hill et al and published in Nature.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.