What Causes Cancer?; September 1996; Scientific American Magazine; by Trichopoulos, Li, Hunter; 8 Page(s)
Cancer, a major killer throughout human history, changed its grasp as humankind advanced industrially and technologically. Although the risk of a few types of cancer has declined dramatically in developed countries in this century, the incidence of the most significant forms of the disease has increased. Cancers of the lung, breast, prostate and colon and rectum have all become more frequent in countries where risk factors such as cigarette smoking, unhealthful dietary habits and exposure to dangerous chemicals at work or in the environment are now more common.
As industrialization has proliferated, so, too, have the suspected causes of cancer. In recent years, news accounts have been full of warnings about all manner of modern conveniences, from pharmaceuticals to cellular telephones. Meanwhile the pace of technological advance makes it more vital than ever to single out definitive causes of cancer from an ever expanding array of possibilities.