After environmentalists warned that the smog may be back once the mercury dips, doctors have expressed concerns that the city’s worsening air quality could leave people more prone to lung cancer.
“So far, it was estimated that 80 per cent of lung cancer cases were due to exposure to tobacco smoke, either direct or passive. But people in the Capital are exposed to air that is equivalent to smoking several cigarettes a day,” said Prof (Dr.) P K Julka, director, Max Oncology Day Care, Lajpat Nagar. According to Dr. Julka, clinical evidence suggests that compared to 20 years ago, not only has the incidence of lung cancer cases increased substantially, but the numbers of non-smokers reporting the disease has gone up by almost 10 per cent.
Leading risk factor
Dr. Sajjan Rajpurohit, oncologist at the Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute, added that Delhi’s toxic air was fast emerging as a leading risk factor for lung cancer.