Climate change will cause more cancers: Study

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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A recent study led by Prof. Robert A. Hiatt from the University of California, US has revealed that climate change will result in severe global consequences such as poor air quality, rising temperatures, wildfires as well as higher rates of cancer, especially lung, skin and gastrointestinal cancers.

The study which was published in the journal The Lancet Oncology shared a synopsis of how future effects from global warming such as environmental toxins to ultraviolet radiation, air pollution, infectious agents and disruptions in food and water supply impact major cancers.

Robert A Hiatt, the lead author of the study stated that “In the worldwide battle to mitigate climate change, the international community is not on track to slow emissions of greenhouses gases.”

The study emphasizes that the impact of climate change on health is large and is expected to grow without any stimulus. High temperatures, poor air quality and wildfires lead to higher rates of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.

“Extreme weather events cause death, injury, displacement, and disrupt health care delivery,” the authors of the study remarked.

Researchers cited one comprehensive modeling study which predicts that more than half a million climate-related deaths worldwide by 2050 would be caused by cancer and as a result of changes in the food supply.

Pandemics like COVID-19 have shown the stark reality of disruption in the healthcare sector which triggers the shift of medical resources away from cancer leading to delayed cancer screenings for thousands of patients out of fear of contracting the virus.

The authors of the study opined that reducing pollution can lead to a lower number of deaths from lung cancer while there are numerous clinical, behavioral, and policy solutions to slow climate change and prevent cancer cases and deaths.