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Lung Cancer: How Air Pollution Increases Cancer Risk in Lungs

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Lung Cancer: How Air Pollution Increases Cancer Risk in Lungs

A new study revealed that scientists have uncovered a mechanism that explains how small amounts of air pollution particles can cause lung cancer.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, air pollution impacts your lungs based on a number of criteria, including the mix and types of pollutants that are in the air, as well as the concentration of pollutants and how much of each pollutant reaches your lungs.

The effects of air pollution on lung cancer

It could pave the way for new treatments or methods for preventing or treating the disease at its earliest stages as a result of the discoveries.

It has been identified that fine particulate matter (FPM), a tiny, inhalable particle present in air pollution, is a Group 1 carcinogen and presents a significant health risk to the global community.

The mechanism behind the development of cancer from FPM, on the other hand, remains unknown.

Despite a potential for causing mutations, recent research suggests that FPM does not directly promote lung cancer cell growth, and in fact may be able to inhibit that growth, says Zhenzhen Wang, co-author of the research and a postdoctoral fellow at Nanjing University (NJU), in Nanjing, China, who conducted the research in collaboration with labs at NJU and the University of Macau, which supported her project financially through a University of Macau Fellowship, as per ScienceDaily.

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Wang and his colleagues have been studying this possibility since 2005, when they obtained FPM from seven different areas in China and studied the effects of this substance on cytotoxic T-cells, which are vital immune cells that help control the development of tumors.

Mice injected with lung cancer cells that also received FPM at the same time were exposed to CTLs in the lungs and these CTLs attracted to the tumor cells.

In mice whose lungs had been exposed to FPM for a prolonged period, CTL infiltration was delayed, most likely resulting in tumor cells establishing themselves in lung tissue at a later time.

In order to understand why the CTLs didn’t penetrate the lungs as quickly in the FPM-exposed lungs, the scientists had to examine both the CTLs and the lung tissue structure.

Despite the fact that FPM treatment preserved the migration abilities of CTLs, it significantly compromised the lung tissue structure as well as the gaps in which immune cells migrate.

The collagen content, a protein responsible for providing biomechanical support to cells and tissues, was also significantly higher.

Scientists examined the movement of CTLs in mice using FPM-treated lung tissues and found that the cells had difficulty moving in the treated tissue, whereas the cells in the untreated tissues could freely move.

The effects of air pollution on your lungs

If you suffer from ANY respiratory problem, such as asthma, COPD, or some other respiratory ailment, high pollution levels might worsen your symptoms.

Pollution can cause asthma sufferers to use their reliever inhaler much more frequently when pollution levels are high in comparison to when they would normally use it. You should also make sure you use your preventer inhaler on a regular basis.

According to a study, long-term exposure to air pollution may lead to the development of various lung diseases over the long-term.

Outdoor air pollution may cause lung cancer and long-term exposure to air pollution may lead to asthma outbreaks. This may be due to the fact that there is strong evidence that outdoor air pollution causes lung cancer.

However, despite the fact that it is unclear if the level of outdoor air pollution in the UK may contribute to the development of COPD, air pollution is still a lower risk factor than smoking in the UK.

It is also believed that it is possible for air pollution to alter the growth of the lungs of children if the exposure to the air is prolonged.

Several studies indicate that children living in polluted environments are at higher risk of developing asthma compared to their peers who don’t.

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