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Dr Jani on the Effects of Tobacco and Air Pollution on Lung Cancer Mortality

Chinmay Jani, MD, discusses findings from a study evaluating the impact of tobacco use and air pollution on mortality rates in patients with lung cancer.

Chinmay Jani, MD, clinical fellow, Hematology & Oncology, Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, discusses findings from a study evaluating the impact of tobacco use and air pollution on mortality rates in patients with lung cancer.

Although global lung cancer mortality rates are decreasing, the male-to-female mortality rates remain high, Jani says. In 2019, male mortality rates were approximately 2.5 times higher than female mortality rates, Jani notes. Although tobacco-associated lung cancer mortality has proportionally declined, tobacco use remains the leading risk factor for lung cancer mortality, Jani explains. Despite improvements, tobacco-related lung cancer mortality accounted for approximately 66% of lung cancer deaths in 2019, indicating that progress is still needed to reduce tobacco consumption and its associated mortality, Jani emphasizes.

Another concerning trend is the rise in air pollution–associated lung cancer mortality, according to Jani. Research has shown that different forms of air pollution, including household pollution and particulate matter pollution, are becoming major contributors to lung cancer mortality, Jani says. This trend underscores the need for increased awareness and action regarding the role of air pollution in lung cancer development and mortality, Jani explains.

Efforts to reduce tobacco consumption have been substantial and have yielded positive results, but similar efforts are lacking for air pollution reduction, Jani emphasizes. There is a need for heightened awareness and stricter policies to address air pollution as a critical factor in lung cancer mortality, according to Jani. This issue affects urban, suburban, and rural populations worldwide, as various forms of air pollution contribute to lung cancer mortality, Jani adds.

Overall, although progress has been made to reduce tobacco-related lung cancer deaths, ongoing efforts in this area are crucial to continue to decrease lung cancer mortality rates, Jani notes. Concurrently, there must be a heightened focus on combating air pollution through increased awareness of this issue and stricter policy measures to further reduce global lung cancer mortality rates, Jani concludes.

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