(CTN News) – Women who live and work in areas with more air pollution have a greater chance of developing breast cancer than women in areas with cleaner air, according to a study presented at the ESMO Congress 2023 in Madrid.
Professor Béatrice Fervers, Head of the Prevention Cancer Environment Department, Léon Bérard Comprehensive Cancer Centre, France, said, “Our data showed a statistically significant association between long-term exposure to fine particle air pollution,
Both at home and at work, and breast cancer risk.
It contrasts with previous studies that examined only fine particle exposure in the communities in which women lived and found that there was little or no effect on breast cancer risk.”
From 1990 to 2011, 2,419 women with breast cancer were compared with 2,984 women without it. It was found that women’s breast cancer risk increased by 28% when they were exposed to more fine particle air pollution (PM2.5) – like the difference between rural and city areas in Europe.
In addition, there were smaller increases in risk associated with more significant particle pollution (PM10) and nitrogen dioxide. In order to determine how pollution during commuting affects breast cancer risk, researchers plan to conduct a study.
Charles Swanton, an expert on PM2.5 and lung cancer, stressed the significance of these findings for breast cancer research.
He stated, “These tiny particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, where they are absorbed into the breast and other tissues.
Air pollutants have already been shown to alter breast architecture (3,4). As with our observations in non-smokers with lung cancer, it will be important to test whether pollutants allow cells in breast tissue with pre-existing mutations to expand and drive tumor promotion through inflammatory processes.”
As we do not yet understand their potential to promote cancer, it is very concerning that small pollutant particles in the air as well as microplastic particles of similar size are entering the environment.
It is urgently necessary to conduct laboratory studies to investigate the effects of these small air pollutants on the latency, grade, aggression, and progression of breast cancer,” he concluded.
Professor Jean-Yves Blay, in charge of public policy at ESMO, highlighted the strong evidence linking PM2.5 particles to cancer. For health and economic reasons, reducing pollution is crucial to preventing cancer.
According to the World Health Organization, ESMO has called for even stricter limits on PM2.5 particles in the air in response to a proposal from the European Commission in October 2022.
Due to the fact that PM2.5 particles are associated with various types of tumors, including breast cancer, this is a crucial factor.
As a result of the differences between pollution levels in different parts of the world, Blay emphasized the importance of this change, not only for Europe but for the entire world.
In June 2023, the Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety Committee of the European Parliament adopted the lower limit.
This study confirms the need for immediate political action to address air pollution and its impact on breast cancer risk.
This is an important step towards creating a healthier and safer environment for women and communities throughout the world.
As a result of initiatives and policies aimed at reducing air pollution, quality of life will be improved and contributions will be made to the prevention of breast cancer and other diseases associated with air pollution.