Cases of lung cancer in Beijing, China have increased by more than 50 percent over the past decade, Medical Daily reported.
Though Chinese officials attribute the increase in cases to higher rates of smoking in the country, air pollution has also been identified as a major contributing factor to incidences of lung cancer.
Lung cancer cases in Beijing increased from 39.56 per 100,000 people in 2002 to 63.09 in 2011, according to reports from state-run news agency, Xinhua.
Levels of air pollution in China have garnered significant attention recently, particularly after reports last week claimed that an 8-year-old girl had been diagnosed with lung cancer, making her the country’s youngest lung cancer patient. The Chinese government was also recently forced to close roads, schools and airports in Harbin, China, after pollution levels escalated to 40 times higher than the safety limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to WHO: “More than half of the lung cancer deaths attributable to ambient fine particles were projected to have been in China and other East Asian countries.” More than 3.2 million deaths each year can be attributed to air pollution, including 200,000 from lung cancer, WHO reported.