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Lung Cancer is Caused By Air Pollution, According To Scientists

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Lung Cancer is Caused By Air Pollution, According To Scientists

(CTN News) _ The mechanism by which air pollution triggers lung cancer in non-smokers has been identified by scientists, a discovery one expert hailed as “an important step for science – and society”.

Despite calls for more urgent measures to combat climate change, the study highlighted the health risks posed by the tiny particles produced by burning fossil fuels.

Charles Swanton of the Francis Crick Institute in the United Kingdom believes it could also pave the way for cancer prevention.

He presented the research at the European Society for Medical Oncology’s annual conference in Paris on Saturday, which has not yet been peer-reviewed.

There has long been a link between air pollution and lung cancer in people who have never smoked.

We didn’t know whether pollution directly caused – or how,” Swanton told AFP.

Traditionally, it has been believed that carcinogens in cigarette smoke or pollution cause DNA mutations that lead to cancer.

However, Swanton said, there was an “inconvenient truth” to this model: previous research shows that DNA mutations can occur without causing cancer and that most environmental carcinogens do not cause them.

Cancer pill of the future?

In England, South Korea, and Taiwan, researchers analyzed health data from over 460,000 people.

PM2.5 pollution particles – which are less than 2.5 micrometres (microns) across – increased the risk of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations.

EGFR and Kirsten rat sarcoma virus (KRAS) genes have both been linked to lung cancer in laboratory studies on mice.

Lastly, they analyzed nearly 250 samples of human lung tissue that had never been exposed to carcinogens through smoking or heavy pollution.

Can a lung cancer be cured?

As with many other cancers, a key to surviving lung cancer is catching it in its earliest stages, when it is most treatable. For patients who have small, early-stage lung cancer, the cure rate can be as high as 80% to 90%.

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