Lung cancer rates lower at higher elevations
the ONA take:
According to a new study published in the journal Peerj, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the University of California Department of Biological and Medical Informatics in San Francisco, California, have found that lung cancer rates are lower at higher elevations, suggesting that atmospheric oxygen may have a role in lung carcinogenesis.
For the study, the researchers sought to investigate whether inhaled oxygen could be a carcinogen by analyzing cancer incidence rates across the Western United States.
They found that as the county elevation increased, lung cancer rates decreased. Specifically, lung cancer incidence decreased by 7.23 cases per 100,000 individuals for every 1,000-meter elevation increasing. The researchers accounted for various variables, such as smoking prevalence and education.
The authors note, however, that the observed association does not prove a causal effect between oxygen and lung cancer. They also evaluated rates of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer, and found a weak association or no association between elevation and incidence.
The findings will probably not persuade individuals to relocate, but the identification of a universal and major risk factor for lung cancer may lead to better treatments and preventative approaches.
Lung cancer rates are lower at higher elevations, suggesting that atmospheric oxygen may have a role in lung carcinogenesis.
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