Dr. Beatrice Mahler: 43% of lung cancer deaths are caused by pollution

On the occasion of World Cancer Day, the manager of the Institute of Pneumoftisiology “Marius Nasta”, Beatrice Mahler, said that clean air is the solution for a healthy lung. Lung cancer has the highest mortality rate.

Lung cancer has the highest mortality – Photo Archive

Representing the second leading cause of death worldwide, cancer is the cause of nearly 1 in 6 deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization. The cancer with the highest mortality is lung cancer. Clean air is the solution for a healthy lung, every breath counts, said Beatrice Mahler, on the occasion of World Cancer Day.

“Complying with the air quality standards of the World Health Organization seems difficult to achieve, but the negative effects of domestic, environmental and industrial pollution are real and translate into lost years of life”explained Dr. Beatrice Mahler, on this occasion, in a post on the Facebook page of the “Marius Nasta” Institute, according to Agerpres.

The doctor points out that many patients diagnosed with lung cancer are non-smokers.

Exposure to polluting particles can cause changes in the cells of the airways that trigger lung cancer. Studies have shown that these changes are visible in about half of people with lung cancer who have never smoked. One of the described mechanisms indicates that PM 2.5 particles cause inflammation in the lung. The inflammation 'wakes up' normally inactive cells in the lungs, cells that have mutations and cause cancer. The combination of cancer-causing mutations and inflammation can trigger these cells to grow uncontrollably, forming tumors. EGFR gene mutations are common in lung cancer in people who have never smoked“, said Beatrice Mahler.

According to the doctor, a study that processed data from more than 400,000 people in the UK and countries in Asia compared the rates of EGFR-mutant lung cancer in areas with different levels of PM 2.5 particle pollution, highlighting higher rates in people living in areas with higher levels of PM 2.5 pollution.

43% of lung cancer-induced deaths, are produced due to pollution, of which only air pollution causes up to 29%. Another worrisome aspect is the increase in deaths as a result of the increased level of pollutants in the outdoor air, which in recent years exceeds the mortality secondary to domestic pollution, largely determined by cigarette smoke“, added Dr. Beatrice Mahler, according to the previously cited source.

According to the European Environment Agency, approximately 30,000 people die annually in Romania due to pollution, according to a study carried out in 2023.