Head and neck cancers from a diverse group of neoplasms, the occurrence of which can be attributed to habitual tobacco use, race, alcohol consumption, ultraviolet (UV) exposure, occupational exposure, viruses, and diet. The surging incidence rates reflect the prevalence of risk factors such as tobacco use (smoked and smokeless), betel nut chewing, urbanisation and issues relating to urban air quality. Urbanisation and development have catalysed a multifold rise in levels of pollution in metropolitan cities. Ever-increasing consumption of fuels to meet demands of the growing population coupled with industrial activity has adversely affected the air quality, especially in developing countries. The cause most neglected in risk assessment of aerodigestive tract cancer research is that from petroleum exposure. The global issue of petroleum carcinogenicity has assumed high proportions. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals are essential constituents of total petroleum hydrocarbons which infiltrate into the environment and are recognized worldwide as priority pollutants because of their toxicity and carcinogenicity. High levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, ammonia and particulate matter PM10 has skyrocketed aerodigestive tract diseases especially carcinomas. The identification of specific biomarkers and role of metal ions in aerodigestive tract cancers will indicate the molecular basis of disease to provide quality care for patients confronting new threats from climate-sensitive pathologies. There is an urgent need to evaluate existing public health infrastructure so as to take ameliorative and adaptive measures.
Authors: Khanna S, Gharpure AS. ;Full Source: Cureus. 2017 Apr 30;9(4): e1202. doi: 10.7759/cureus.1202. ;