An eight-year-old girl from Jiangsu province is China’s youngest lung-cancer patient ever, and local doctors have blamed smog and PM2.5 as the overwhelming causes of her condition. China’s bad air quality has already been shown to significantly decrease life expectancy, but—until now, apparently—lung cancer was typically reserved for people well into middle-age.
South China Morning Post reports on the girls’ tragically smoggy/particle-filled childhood and some nationwide gloomy stats:
The girl from Jiangsu lived by a busy road where she inhaled all kinds of dust and particles, China News Service cited Dr Feng Dongjie of Jiangsu Cancer Hospital as saying. These included superfine PM2.5 particles, less than 2.5 microns wide, that are considered the most dangerous component of smog, Feng said. […]
Air pollution, mostly caused by transport, power generation, industrial or agricultural emissions and residential heating and cooking, was found to pose similar health risks to breathing in second-hand tobacco smoke.
The WHO said that in 2010, 223,000 people died from lung cancer worldwide resulting from air pollution.
Lung cancer is the most common cancer in Asia, Dr Hao Xishan, a noted oncologist, told the 22nd Asia Pacific Cancer Conference in Tianjin at the weekend, people.com.cn reported.
He said China had about 20 per cent of the world’s recently diagnosed cancer patients, and that cancers of the lung, liver, stomach, oesophagus, colon, cervix, breast and nasopharynx were responsible for 80 per cent of cancer deaths in the country.
The girl’s name has not been publicly released and she will, presumably, be hospitalized for some time. One hopes CCTV and/or a local Jiangsu TV station don’t have the audacity to track the eight-year-old down in the hospital and plaster her image throughout China, but we’ll see.
UPDATE: They’re trying their damnedest.
[Image via Flickr]