Animals living in cities may be more likely to get cancer – just like humans, a study suggests.
Light, chemical and noise pollution, food high in sugars, and viruses have all been found to increase the chances of humans getting cancer.
Now researchers suggest the same factors could be raising the risk of cancers in wild animals living in cities such as birds, squirrels, rats, mice and hedgehogs.
Researchers led by Giradeau Mathieu writing in Proceedings B of the Royal Society said: ‘Wild animal populations can be compared to prehistoric human populations, in which fossil data indicate a low prevalence of cancer.
‘It is clear that the characteristics of a modern lifestyle and the urbanising environment have brought along a change in cancer prevalence in humans, but so far little attention has been given to similar changes in wild animals.
The authors write: ‘It has only recently been proposed that human activities might increase the cancer rate in wild populations’.