at least 150 people suffering from lung cancer have been admitted in the New Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (aiims) during the past six months. A special type of lung cancer caused due to air pollution accounts for 80 per cent of these cases. "As lungs are always in contact with the pollutants, they are constantly irritated and this leads to cancerous growth," says Ashutosh Pathak, an oncologist at aiims. "Air pollution is an important reason behind the increase in lung cancer cases," concedes Vinod Raina, additional professor at the Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital of aiims.
Seventy out of the 150 lung cancer patients are Delhi residents -- a trend that can be attributed to rising air pollution levels in the country's cities. Another factor causing lung cancer is lifestyle habits such as smoking. Ninety per cent of the patients affected by lung cancer are men.
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