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Air Pollution May Lead To Lung Cancer: Signs You Should Look Out For

Air pollution has officially been declared a carcinogen in 2013. Here's how air pollutants can lead to the onset of lung cancer and what you should be aware of.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : September 12, 2022 6:01 PM IST

Lung cancer can affect anyone at any age, but most cases of lung cancer occur due to smoking. Studies have found that air pollution can also lead to lung cancer. Did you know air pollution was declared Group 1 carcinogen? It was declared so in 2013 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Scientists of the Francis Crick Institute and University College London, funded by Cancer Research UK found that air pollution can increase the risk of mortality due to several types of cancer, including lung cancer.

Air Pollution May Trigger Lung Cancer In Non-Smokers

Scientists discovered a new mechanism for the airborne pollutants that may cause lung cancer in non-smokers. They discovered that particles associated with climate change also induce malignant alterations in airway cells, opening the door to novel strategies for lung cancer prevention and therapy. They claim that the particles, which are generally present in car exhaust and fossil fuel smoke, are linked to a higher risk of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), which accounts for more than 250,000 lung cancer deaths worldwide each year.

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While the risk of lung cancer from air pollution is lower than from smoking, it is important to address climate health to improve human health. As per the study results, researchers found that lung cells exposed to air pollution are more likely to develop cancers than when lung cells were not exposed to pollutants.

Symptoms Of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in many countries. This type of cancer starts in the lungs and can spread to other parts of the body. Lung cancer does not show any noticeable symptoms as much, but the sooner you are diagnosed, the better your chances of getting treatment in time. Here are the symptoms of lung cancer you should know about.

Early signs of lung cancer include:

  • Worsening cough
  • Coughing up phlegm
  • Wheezing
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Respiratory infections
  • Chest pain that worsens with each breath

Late symptoms of lung cancer

Some lung cancer patients may experience different symptoms, depending on where the new tumours form. Some of the late-stage symptoms might include:

  • bumps in the collarbone or neck
  • discomfort in the bones, particularly in the hips, ribs, or back
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • balance problems
  • tingling in the arms or legs
  • Jaundice (yellow eyes and skin)
  • Shrinking pupils and one eyelid drooping
  • Pain in the shoulders
  • Enlargement of the upper body and face

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