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Aetiology and epidemiology of cancer 

Aetiology and epidemiology of cancer
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date: 17 August 2019

Worldwide, there are more than one billion users of tobacco products, including about 750,000 people who smoke cigarettes regularly. The resulting burden of premature mortality, about six million deaths in 2011, makes tobacco use the world’s leading cause of avoidable premature mortality. Of the six million deaths, an estimated 2.12 million (33%) are from cancer. This chapter provides a perspective on tobacco smoking as a cause of cancer, summarizing the evidence from epidemiological studies and reviewing a now extensive literature. Active smoking causally increases risk for multiple cancer sites. Secondhand smoke inhaled by never smokers has also been causally linked to various cancers, including lung cancer. Tobacco control provides a tremendous opportunity for cancer prevention. For oncologists, emerging evidence points to clinical implications of smoking with regard to therapy and outcomes in cancer. As for all clinical encounters, smoking needs to be assessed routinely and cessation counselled vigorously.

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