Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 17th 2017 Contents A24 body & soul
guardian.co.tt Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Living in areas with higher total exposures
to harmful pollutants in the air, water and land
is associated with greater odds of developing
cancer, a US study suggests.
While plenty of previous research has linked indi-
vidual pollutants to increased risks of specific types
of cancer, the current study focused on how the com-
bined effect of exposure to a variety of environmental
contaminants may influence the risk of tumors.
Researchers examined the annual incidence rate for
cancer diagnoses for each county in the US and found
an average of 451 cases for every 100,000 people.
Compared to counties with the highest environmen-
tal quality, counties that ranked the lowest had an
average of 39 more cancer cases each year for every
"We do not experience exposures in a vacuum but
rather are exposed to several exposures at any one
time," said lead study author Dr Jyotsna Jagai, of the
University of Illinois at Chicago.
"We considered a broad definition of environmental
exposures, which included pollution in the air, water,
and land and also (man-made) and sociodemographic
environmental factors," Jagai said by email.
"We found that counties with poor overall environ-
mental quality experienced higher cancer incidence
than those counties with good overall environmental
Cancer causes one in four deaths in the US each
year, Jagai and colleagues note in the journal Cancer.
To assess the connection between environmental
Common painkillers such as ibuprofen and
naproxen are already known to raise people's
risk of a heart attack. Now a new study shows
the risk comes within the first week of using
The study doesn't mean that everyone should avoid
taking the pills to treat headaches, lower fevers and
reduce aches and pains, but does suggest people who
know they have a bigger-than-average heart attack
risk should avoid long-term use and high doses, the
The study involves drugs called nonsteroidal an-
ti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS for short. They
include ibuprofen, sold under brand names like Advil
or Motrin; naproxen, like Aleve; as well as prescription
arthritis drugs known as COX-2 inhibitors, such as
Tylenol, known generically as acetaminophen, is
not an NSAID. The researchers did not look at aspirin,
another NSAID commonly prescribed to lower heart
attack risk that works in a slightly different manner.
The study also looked at Vioxx, a prescription drug
pulled from the market in 2004 after it was shown to
raise the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Michèle Bally of McGill University and colleagues
pooled all the studies they could find on NSAIDs and
heart attacks. They settled on data covering 446,000
people using NSAIDs, including 385,000 who did not
have heart attacks, known medically as myocardial
"By studying 61,460 myocardial infarction events in
real-world use of NSAIDs, we found that current use
of a NSAID is associated with a significantly increased
risk of acute myocardial infarction," they wrote in
their report, published in the British Medical Journal.
The risk started within a week and it did not grow
with longer use, they found. But the study doesn't
show just how much someone's risk of having a heart
attack is increased. "This was observed for all tra-
ditional NSAIDs, including naproxen," they added.
Using more than 1,200 mg a day of ibuprofen and
750 mg a day of naproxen was especially dangerous,
they found. As expected, Vioxx was especially dan-
If you live in a very polluted place, you have a higher
chance of getting cancer, a US study suggests.
quality and cancer risk, the research-
ers examined county-by-county data
on exposure to different pollutants
from 2000 to 2005 and on new cancer
diagnoses from 2006 to 2010.
Compared to men in counties with
the highest environmental quali-
ty, men living in counties with the
poorest environmental quality had an
average of 33 more cases of all types
of cancer for every 100,000 people.
For women, living in counties with the
worst environmental quality was as-
sociated with an average of 30 more
cases of cancer for every 100,000
In addition to looking at overall
cancer rates, researchers also looked
separately at the most common tumor
types: lung, colorectal, prostate and
Prostate and breast tumors were
strongly associated with environmen-
tal quality, the study found. Living in
the counties with the worst environ-
mental quality was tied to about ten
more cases of these tumors for every
100,000 people. (Reuters)
Avoid long-term use
Pollution exposure tied
to higher cancer risk
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