Judy Ou, PhD, on Fine Particulate Matter in Pediatric and AYA Patients with Cancer

May 27, 2020

The research scientist spoke about the study that found that fine particulate matter pollution was associated with mortality in pediatric, adolescent, and young adult patients with specific cancers.

In an interview with CancerNetwork®, Judy Ou, PhD, research scientist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah, discussed the study of fine particulate matter pollution in pediatric, adolescent, and young adult patients. 

The study, published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, found that fine particulate matter pollution was associated with mortality in pediatric, adolescent, and young adult patients with specific cancers. 

“Fine particulate matter is called ‘fine’ because of its incredibly small size. And so, these are small particles that are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter,” explained Ou. “The reason that they are concerning to human health is that they can be inhaled into the lungs and are capable of crossing into the bloodstream.” 

“Fine particulate matter has been linked to a wide variety of health effects amongst humans, including mortality, cancer incidence, and also lung and heart disease in the general public,” Ou continued.

As of now, air quality policies to mitigate this issue have not been enforced at local, state, and federal levels. According to Ou, it is important that patients and their caregivers understand the complications related to fine particulate matter so that they may become informed advocates to support enforcing these policies.

“What we really should be doing is thinking through how, basically, general policy changes can affect a potentially vulnerable population and a population that already has a lot of issues and problems,” Ou said. “If we can do anything to alleviate some of those potential risk factors for bad outcomes then we should probably try to do that.”

This segment comes from the CancerNetwork® portion of the MJH Life Sciences National Broadcast, airing daily on all MJH Life Sciences channels.

Reference:

Ou JY, Hanson HA, Ramsay JM, et al. Fine Particulate Matter Air Pollution and Mortality Among Pediatric, Adolescent, and Young Adult Cancer Patients. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-1363.