Causes and Control of Colorectal Cancer

Volume 78 of the series Developments in Oncology pp 139-154


  • Gabriel A. KuneAffiliated withUniversity of MelbourneMelbourne Colorectal Cancer Study

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The evidence for a link between smoking and colorectal tumors is recent. The development of this hypothesis is historically interesting, as it illustrates the importance of several apparently unconnected scientific observations which can now be unified and suggest that smoking is an important component cause of colorectal tumors, and that it operates early in the process of neoplasia. Although for some time smoking and tobacco use has been known to be an important cause of cancers of the lung, oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, pancreas, bladder and others, the concept that smoking may also be a component cause of colorectal tumors has emerged only in the past few years. Smoking is a multi-site carcinogen in humans, and has a unique role in cancer etiology. The most damning evidence of the smoking hazard is that 50% of all cancer deaths are attributable to smoking (McLaughlin et al 1995), and that half of all regular cigarette smokers will eventually die as a result of a smoking-related illness (Doll et al 1994).