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    UK Media Misrepresented NHS Study by Drawing Air Pollution-Cancer Link - NHS

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    Media coverage of the recent study by Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust may have mistakenly named air pollution as the possible cause of increased number of lung cancer cases, Oliver Wilkinson, a spokesman for this NHS Foundation Trust, told Sputnik.

    LONDON (Sputnik) — Earlier in August, The Times newspaper ran an article titled "Pollution blamed for lung cancer in people who have never smoked," citing a study by staff members of the department of thoracic surgery at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust. Several other outlets also reported on the link between air pollution and lung cancer.

    "What seems to have happened here is that some journalists have jumped to conclusions on the actual results of the study. I don't believe the research pointed to a decisive link between rising rates of lung cancer and air pollution. They are both problems, yes, but the research doesn't point to air pollution being a sole or even primary factor," Wilkinson said.

    The study, carried out by at the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust in London, examined data regarding 2,170 patients who underwent resection for lung cancer between 2008 and 2014. The researchers found that the annual frequency of cancer in patients who had never smoked went from 13 to 28 percent.

    "Whilst there are a number of hypotheses that have been postulated, no single aetiological cause such as environmental pollution has been identified. The World Health Organization recognizes radon, household air pollution as carcinogens; however, our results could not demonstrate any differential effects between smokers and non-smokers," the researchers said in an essay published with the European Journal of Cancer.

    Almost 40 million people across the United Kingdom are believed to live in areas where air pollution is above the legal limits. Several cities, including London, Aberdeen, Birmingham and Leeds, were identified as problem areas, according to a study commissioned by the UK Labour Party and published earlier this year.

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