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NTU and Chinese University study links rising lung cancers with air pollution

A global research team, including members from Singapore's NTU and Hong Kong's Chinese University, has published the results of an investigation into the link between smoking, air pollution, and cancer incidences worldwide between 1990 and 2012.

The study - "Rise and fall of lung cancers in relation to tobacco smoking and air pollution: A global trend analysis from 1990 to 2012" - sought to examine the reasons behind falling rates of certain lung cancers and rising rates of others. Specifically, declining incidences of lung squamous cell carcinoma (LSCC), but rising incidences of lung adenocarcinoma (LADC).

What they found was a decline in one type of cancer due to decreased smoking rates, and a rise in the other due to increasing air pollution levels:

"We conclude global decreasing LSCC incidence is associated with the reduced tobacco consumption, whereas the global increasing LADC incidence is likely associated with air pollution."

Professor Joseph Sung, NTU's Senior Vice President of Health and Life Sciences and Dean of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine said:

"In our study, we were able to determine that the global increase of lung adenocarcinoma is likely associated with air pollution. It had always been unclear, in the past decades, why we are seeing more females and more non-smokers developing lung cancer worldwide. Our study points to the importance of environmental factors in the causation of specific types of lung cancer"

Professor Joseph Sung
NTU Senior Vice President and Dean of Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine1
The study was peer reviewed and published in the academic journal Atmospheric Environment last month.

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