Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay 

Scientists have found that how air pollution causes lung cancer. The research probably would help all of us to rewrite our understanding of the disease.

The research outlines how fine particulates contained in car fumes awaken dormant mutations in lung cells and tip them into a cancerous state. It also explains as to why many non-smokers develop lung cancer and is a 'wake-up call' about the damaging impact of pollution on human health.

Prof. Charles Swanton of the Francis Crick Institute, who presented the findings at the European Society for Medical Oncology remarks,

'The risk of lung cancer from air pollution is lower than from smoking, but we have no control what we all breathe'.

Globally, people are much more exposed to the toxic atmosphere around them than the toxic chemicals they inhale while smoking. This new study also addresses the issue of climate health which is of paramount importance in the improvisation of human health.

Smoking remains the biggest cause of lung cancer, but outdoor air pollution causes about one in 10 cases in the UK, and an estimated 6,000 people who have never smoked die of lung cancer every year. About 3 lakh deaths relating to lung cancer are recorded. It's also because of the accumulation of particulate suspended matter in the atmosphere.

The biological basis for how air pollution causes cancer has remained unclear. Unlike smoking or sun exposure, which directly causes DNA mutations linked to lung and skin cancer. Air pollution does not cause cancer by triggering such genetic changes. The small changes that occur in DNA due to this air pollution can be deadly though.

Clearly, these patients are getting cancer without having mutations, so there's got to be something else going on.

Air pollution is associated with lung cancer but people have largely ignored it because the mechanisms behind it were shadowed.

The research explains the mechanism that how cells carrying dormant mutations can turn cancerous when exposed to air pollutants. This has been successfully attempted on a mice who showed greater chances of cancer infection when exposed to air pollutants. The risk can be mediated by an inflammatory protein called interleukin-1 beta, released as a part of the body's immune system. This could pave the way for developing cancer-preventive medicines.

Although, the cause of air pollution is not so working quickly in case of everybody. Chronic exposure to air pollution increases the odds of that happening.

It's a wake-up call on the impact of pollution on human health. One cannot ignore climate health. If you want to address human health, you have to address climate.

Air pollution is causing a lot of premature deaths but no one is held accountable here. Some scientists say that they already knew that there existed such a relationship and have already found measures to tackle it.

Both air pollution and cigarette smoke contain a lot of promoting substances. Essentially, it has been ignored. But now the research can definitely induct the efforts in this direction.

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