There have been few but timely studies examining the role of air pollution in lung cancer and survival. The Southeast Asia haze is a geopolitical problem that has occurred annually since 1997 in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. To date, there has been no study examining the impact of the annual haze in the presentation of lung cancer. Data on all lung cancers and respiratory admissions to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre (UKMMC) from 1st January 2010 to 31th October 2015 were retrospectively collected and categorized as presentation during the haze and non-haze periods defined by the Department of Environment Malaysia. We report a lung cancer incidence rate per week of 4.5 cases during the haze compared to 1.8 cases during the non-haze period (p<0.01). The median survival for subjects presenting during the haze was 5.2 months compared to 8.1 months for the non-haze period (p<0.05). The majority of subjects diagnosed during the haze period initially presented with acute symptoms. Although this study could not suggest a cause and effect relationship of the annual haze with the incidence of lung cancer, this is the first study reporting a local air pollution-related modifiable determinant contributing to the increase in presentation of lung cancer in Southeast Asia.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.