While so far all scientific studies that sought to establish a link between lung cancer and the air we breathe are interested in its composition, a recent study came to bring a new dimension to this question: the altitude!
In fact, that study found that people living in towns and villages at a level close to that of the sea would be more likely to contract lung cancer than those living at higher altitude.
What is the reason for this phenomenon? Incredible as it may seem, the reason for lowlanders to see their lungs affected by cancer is due to oxygen. The air in the plains is actually thicker than in the higher places which means it is loaded with more oxygen, which turns out to be hazardous to the human body.
This is because oxygen is used by the body to convert food into energy and during this process, known as oxidation, many free radicals can be produced. But these chemicals that have the ability to cause reactions in the cell killing chain, and even modify the genetic code of the cells by attacking their DNA, can cause a mutation of the genetic program of the human body. In doing so, free radicals are responsible for the development of cancer.
So to summarize, the more the air is loaded with oxygen, the more it will release free radicals during the oxidation process and will increase the risk of developing lung cancer, the first organ affected by oxidation. Conversely, low oxygen means less oxidation and less risk of cancer associated with free radicals. This would be verified, according to a US study from 1000 meters above the level of the sea.
So it’s time to begin to pay extreme attention to the air that surrounds you. And to reduce the risk of cancer while taking a breath of fresh air, think about visiting the mountains for the next holiday!