Air Pollution and Cancer: How To Stay Safe
“Hey, I read that air pollution can also cause cancer. Is it true?” Radha asked her friend Neha.
“Yes, it is possible. First, let me tell you some cancer basics. The DNA inside a cell contains many genes, each with instructions set within the cells. Due to some kind of error in the instructions, the cell malfunction, form a group of cells, and becomes infected with cancer.” Neha told Radha.
Neha also added that cancer is caused by mutations in the DNA within cells. When these cells are not controlled, they start growing wildly, due to which many cells gather in one place and cause cancer.
“Okay, but what is the connection between air pollution and cancer?” Radha asked.
“Cancer is one of the most common air pollution diseases caused by exposure to carcinogenic airborne particles, such as those released from burning fossil fuels. The most common one is found in the lungs.” Neha replied.
“So, you mean air pollutants are similar to smoking effects?” Radha asked.
“Yes, Radha. Smoking is also a significant cause of lung cancer. It accounts for about 85% of all cancers. Other risk factors include exposure to second-hand smoke, radon gas, asbestos, and air pollution.” Neha replied.
Radha asked, “What can we do to keep us safe?”
Neha said, “To prevent cancer, smoking should be avoided, and in places where the industrial sector emits smoke or mines and stone grinding or cutting work, always wear a mask while working. The cancer risk is high, so check the vehicles for pollution in time and prioritize electric vehicles. Staying in the sun for a long time or getting sunburnt creates a cancer risk. Moreover, the cancer patient should live in clean air during treatment to reduce triggering other health issues.”