Lung cancer rates 'decrease with elevation,' study finds

January 14, 2015 8:11 AM

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Lung cancer rates 'decrease with elevation,' study finds

Lung cancer is responsible for 27% of all cancer deaths in the US, claiming an estimated 160,000 lives per year. While almost 90% of lung cancer cases are linked to smoking, the new study suggests that atmospheric oxygen may play a role in lung carcinogenesis.

Exploring the inverse relationship of oxygen concentration with elevation, researchers found lower rates of lung cancer at higher elevations, a trend that did not extend to non-respiratory cancers, suggesting that carcinogen exposure occurs via inhalation.

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