Living near a benzene release site – such as a refinery or plant that releases the chemical into the air or water supply – puts people at a higher risk for contracting non-Hodgkin lymphoma, according to a new study.
Risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma are not well known, though the disease is more common in older individuals. Nearly 70,000 new cases appear in the United States each year, leading to nearly 20,000 deaths annually – and incidences of non-Hodgkin lymphoma are only expected to increase as the U.S. population ages.
“For many more common cancers like breast, lung or colon we have well-known associations and can describe risk factors,” study author Dr. Christopher Flowers, associate professor of hematology and medical oncology at the Emory University School of Medicine, told FoxNews.com. “But for lymphomas, those have not been nearly as well described, and it is becoming important to identify those risk factors as the population ages.”
In a study published in the journal Cancer, Flowers and his colleagues gathered data on benzene release sites in Georgia from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxics Release Inventory and compared it to data on incidences of lymphoma gathered from the Georgia Comprehensive Cancer Registry.