Air pollution blamed for Miriam's cancer

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 04 2014 04:47 AM | Updated as of Jul 04 2014 12:47 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Air pollution, rather than smoking, could have caused Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago's lung cancer.

Health Secretary Enrique Ona said yesterday the worsening pollution is becoming a major health hazard and one of the leading causes of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.

“Smoking is not the only cause of lung cancer, there are many other reasons like pollution, which is a major concern for us,” he said.

Santiago announced on Wednesday that she has stage four lung cancer and said her doctors were baffled why she got the disease when neither she nor her husband smokes.

Ona said like in smoking, the different pollutants found in the surroundings can cause lung and other types of cancer.

“There are certain areas in the country where there is high concentration of pollutants, which can be found not only in air, but also in water and food,” he said.

He said the Department of Health is expanding its campaign against non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart diseases and diabetes by working with different concerned government agencies in enforcing a “Healthy Manila” campaign.

He said part of the campaign is an anti-pollution drive.