Epidemiology of Cancer
Is the study of the incidence, distribution, and, ultimately, the prevention and control of cancer within the general population.
The discipline of cancer epidemiology is a relatively young one, with much of the methodology developed over the past 50 years. Prior to the advent of formal methods of collection and analysis of cancer incidence and risk factor data, associations were generally the result of reports or observations of astute clinicians or scientists. The literature is full of fascinating stories of early attempts at epidemiologic cancer studies such as that of the nineteenth-century physician, Alfred Haviland, who created elaborate maps of cancer deaths in England and Wales using national mortality statistics. One of the first and probably most well-known reports of a relationship between a risk factor and the occurrence of cancer occurred in 1950, with the publication of several case/control studies detailing the...