Lungs Cancer: How air pollution affects the patients life
The findings, which add to growing evidence about the health impact of airborne toxins, show that those diagnosed with early-stage lung cancer are most at risk of an early death.
Overall, for patients with early-stage disease, the risk of death from any cause was 30% greater for exposure to nitrogen dioxide, 26% for larger particulate matter and 38% higher for exposure to smaller particulate matter, The Guardian reported.
The chances of those diagnosed early being alive five years later was 30% for those exposed to the highest levels of air pollution compared with 50% among those who had suffered the least exposure, according to the findings.
Professor Michael Peake, an expert in respiratory medicine at Leicester University, said the life-shortening impact of air pollution the research revealed could undermine the benefits of campaigns to increase public awareness of lung cancer and promote earlier diagnosis.
"This work suggests that high levels of air pollution are likely to significantly reduce the impact of such efforts on the numbers of people who eventually die of lung cancer, even if detected early, Peake said.
"It adds significant weight to the urgent need for more strenuous efforts to reduce air pollution."
Paul Pharoah, however, a professor of cancer epidemiology at Cambridge University, said the study had found only a modest association between the amount of exposure to nitrogen dioxide, small particulate matter and very small particulate matter and the risk of lung cancer patients dying.
"The observed association is quite clear, but association does not necessarily mean causation," he said.