Liberty Planet Weblog

Donate everything to cure cancer? No need, just stop polluting

Posted on: November 5, 2013

8-year-old becomes China’s youngest lung cancer patient, doctors blame pollution

Chinese doctors blame high levels of air pollution, the toxic byproduct of the country’s supercharged economy, for a young girl contracting a deadly disease usually confined to the elderly.

China’s rapid transformation seemingly overnight from a reclusive Maoist outpost to a modern economic powerhouse has not come without a high social price, as urban dwellers struggle to cope with choking smog and deteriorating health conditions.

The depth of the problem hit home on Monday when it was reported that an eight-year-old Chinese girl, from the eastern province of Jiangsu, became the country’s youngest person to contract lung cancer.

The girl, whose name has been withheld by the authorities, lives near a busy road in the eastern province of Jiangsu, said Xinhuanet, the website of China’s official news agency, AFP reported.

The Chinese report quoted Jie Fengdong, a doctor at Jiangsu Cancer Hospital in Nanjing, as saying the young girl had been exposed to harmful particles and dust over an extended period of time.

Lung cancer cases among children are rare, with the average age for people acquiring the disease at about 70 years old, according to the American Cancer Society. However, as this latest case appears to show, the demographics of the disease may be changing with an increased number of younger people becoming infected.

Lung cancer deaths in China, where a shortage of natural gas supplies keeps it dependent on coal burning, have soared more than four times over the past three decades, according to Beijing’s Health Ministry. Meanwhile, cancer is now the leading cause of death in the Chinese capital.

Last month, the northern city of Harbin – a city of some 11 million people with a heavy reliance on coal as a means for heating – suffered severe smog with air pollutants 50 times the level recommended by the World Health Organization. Beijing in January recorded air pollution levels 45 times the WHO level.

Source: RT

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