Air Pollution Causes Lung Cancer In A Surprising Way

smoke stacks billowing out smoke into a gray sky

Air pollution causes many cases of lung cancer every year. But how?

It is well known that smoking tobacco causes cancer by changing (mutating) DNA. The damaged DNA make defective products and that leads to cancer. Not smoking is a simple way to prevent those cancers. But we can't control the air we breathe and air pollution seems to cause cancer in a roundabout way. Instead of causing mutations, the small particles found in air pollution cause a type of inflammatory response in the lungs. This leads to the activation of mutant genes that can be found in the lungs of even healthy individuals. Ultimately, this response can lead to cancer in non-smokers. It is thought that in 2019 about 300,000 people died from lung cancer caused by air pollution!

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