New Study Shows the Impact of Environment on Cancer Growth

We all know that looking after the environment is essential for the health of the planet. But numerous medical researchers have also been saying that environmental factors are important for our health too — a new study has revealed a link between harmful environmental factors and cancer.

Researchers in the United States, led by Dr Jyotsna Jagai, compared county-level measures of environmental quality across a variety of factors with cancer incidence rates in areas throughout the country. Environmental factors analysed include air, water and land quality, along with sociodemographic and built environment.

The results of the study indicated that areas with poorer environmental quality had significantly higher cancer incidence rates, at a rate of 39 more cases per 100,000 people than those in areas with better environmental quality. The findings were across the board when it came to males and females, with both breast and prostate cancers being strongly positively associated with poor environmental quality.

While this may not necessarily come as a surprise, the findings of this study are significant because it shows a link between overall environmental factors and a cancer incidence among the general population, whereas the majority of studies in the past have been more focused on individual circumstances of those with cancer.

The study is especially significant because it could have major implications for governments at every level. It could place pressure on everybody from local councils to federal governments to focus on improving environmental standards, undertaking initiatives to reduce pollution, improve air quality and ensure water supplies remain clean. It also has socioeconomic implications — studies have also shown that less privileged areas are also more likely to be areas that experience a higher degree of air pollution, perhaps because of the existence of manufacturing and heavy industry activities or because of inadequate attention from governing bodies.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Further studies inevitably must be undertaken to understand the exact links between individual environmental factors on specific types of cancer, and what the best way to reduce the rates of cancer incidence should be. What we do know for certain is that there is now one more thing to add to the growing list of reasons why it is important to ensure that human beings are looking after the environment.

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