Air pol­lu­tion linked to high risk of oral can­cer

Gulf Times Community - - BODY & MIND -

Higher lev­els of air pol­lu­tion may be linked to a height­ened risk of de­vel­op­ing oral can­cer, which in­cludes can­cers of the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, a study has found.

While mouth can­cers have been as­so­ci­ated with smok­ing, drink­ing, hu­man pa­pil­loma virus, and the chew­ing of be­tel quid, the study added to this list in­creased lev­els of fine par­tic­u­late mat­ter (PM2.5) and to lesser ex­tent, ozone.

“This study, with a large sam­ple size, is the first to as­so­ciate oral can­cer with

PM2.5. These find­ings add to the grow­ing ev­i­dence on the ad­verse ef­fects of PM2.5 on hu­man health,” said re­searchers in­clud­ing Shou-Jen Lan, Pro­fes­sor at the Asia Univer­sity, in Tai­wan.

Ex­po­sure to heavy met­als and emis­sions from petro­chem­i­cal plants are also thought to be im­pli­cated in the de­vel­op­ment of the dis­ease while PM2.5 is known to be harm­ful to res­pi­ra­tory and car­dio­vas­cu­lar health.

Pre­vi­ously, high air pol­lu­tion has been linked to a host of health prob­lems, from an in­creased risk of de­men­tia to asthma and even changes in the struc­ture of the heart, with re­cent re­search sug­gest­ing there is no ‘safe level’ of air pol­lu­tion. For the new study, pub­lished in the

Jour­nal of In­ves­tiga­tive Medicine, the team dis­cov­ered the as­so­ci­a­tion by look­ing at air pol­lu­tion data from 66 air qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions in Tai­wan, col­lected in 2009.

They com­bined this with data from the health records of more than 4,80,000 men aged 40 and over from 2012-13. In to­tal, there were 11,617 cases of mouth can­cer among the par­tic­i­pants. They found that men ex­posed to the high­est lev­els of PM2.5s had an in­creased risk of mouth can­cer.

Com­pared with men ex­posed to aver­age an­nual PM2.5 lev­els of 26.74 mi­cro­grams (μg) per cu­bic me­tre (m3) of air, those ex­posed to con­cen­tra­tions of 40.37 μg/m3 or higher had 43 per­cent greater odds of de­vel­op­ing the dis­ease.

A sig­nif­i­cant as­so­ci­a­tion was also ob­served for ozone lev­els be­low 28.6930.97 parts per bil­lion.

Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO), air pol­lu­tion is re­spon­si­ble for an es­ti­mated 4.2 mil­lion pre­ma­ture deaths world­wide per year. Around 6,57,000 cases of oral can­cer are di­ag­nosed an­nu­ally across the globe, with 3,30,000 of those pa­tients dy­ing, it said.– IANS

CAUSES: Ex­po­sure to heavy met­als and emis­sions from petro­chem­i­cal plants are also thought to be im­pli­cated in the de­vel­op­ment of the dis­ease.

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