Download Advances in Cancer Research, Vol. 3 by Jeese P. Greenstein, Alexander Haddow (Eds.) PDF

By Jeese P. Greenstein, Alexander Haddow (Eds.)

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A similar type of objection could have been made to Snow’s conclusion that cholera was a water-borne disease or to Pott’s conclusion that employment as a chimney sweep in childhood led t o cancer of the scrotum. It is difficult t o see what can be more relevant to the etiology of human cancer than observations on the extent of human mortality under different environmental conditions and, in this instance, nature has performed the appropriate experiment, in which the amount smoked has been varied while, so far as can be seen, other variables have been kept constant.

1952) found that large calcified foci-larger than in any other part of the lung-were present in the same lobe as the tumor, * If the entire population of miners and retired miners observed by gikl is assumed to have been aged 25 to 44 years, the comparable mortality among nonsmokers would be 20 per million. ETIOLOGY O F LUNG CANCER 45 or in the tracheobronchial nodes draining the lobe, in 27 out of 40 cases of squamous and anaplastic bronchial cancer. They suggested that calcified foci might increase the susceptibility of the neighboring bronchial mucosa to carcinogenic substances reaching it from the inspired air, or that bronchiectasis following primary tuberculosis might be a predisposing factor.

It is, therefore, not possible to attribute any significant carcinogenic effect to radioactivity in tobacco. ETIOLOGY O F L U N G CANCER 29 The further possibility remains that cigarette smoke is not in itself carcinogenic but that it acts as an activator or a co-carcinogen to substances already present in the air from other sources. This hypothesis is less attractive than it was, now that benzpyrene has been found t o be present in appreciable quantities in cigarette smoke, but it is possible that the effect of tobacco is enhanced by the presence of solvents in the smoke such as pyridine and pyrrole which could, theoretically, elute the benzpyrene adsorbed on to carbon particles in the inspired town air and so render the atmospheric benzpyrene more active.

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