Lung Health and Wildfires: A Threat to Cancer Care in Canada

For World Lung Day, we are reminded of the ongoing wildfires in this country and the risk it poses for the health of Canadians.

The effects of these catastrophes on the lungs of the nation will be felt well into the future. The immediate impact is the disruption of cancer care and the uprooting of families of survivors and patients at a time when stability is needed.

In the future, the effect of wildfires on tumor growth, as well as the increased risk due to the toxic cocktail these fires produce, will mean that keeping cancer rates down will be a challenge in the years ahead.

Protecting yourself is key. Be sure to check air quality indexes every day, as you can’t tell by simply checking outside. If you have an N95 mask, now is the time to use it if you need to go out. They are recommended to protect yourself against fine particles that other masks do not. Reducing time spent outdoors is another way to protect your lungs, but only if you can.

In addition, we urge governments to pass and strengthen legislation aimed at protecting firefighters from the hazards they face daily. Our society needs to adapt to this new crisis, and only an adaptive and responsive government can help keep the lungs of Canadians safe in the trying times ahead.