Introduction: The Avoidable Causes of Cancer
Environmental Health Perspectives
United States is due, at least partly, to environmental factors and is, therefore, potentially avoidable. The importance of environmental exposures including behavioral factors has been evident in the international and regional variations in cancer incidence and mortality, the changes in cancer rates among migrant populations, time trends, clustering of cases detected by clinical observations and cancer mapping, ethnic and socioeconomic patterns, and most importantly, in analytic epidemiologic
... ytic epidemiologic studies. Some environmental factors, notably tobacco and some occupational exposures, have substantial and well-established roles in the etiology of cancer, while the effects of certain other factors are less clear and require much more research. In April 1994, the President's Cancer Panel of the National Cancer Program hosted a conference on Avoidable Causes of Cancer. The conferees reviewed what is known about avoidable causes of cancer, suggested lines of further etiologic research, and discussed strategies for prevention. The conference demonstrated the power and success of the epidemiologic approach not only in identifying a number of preventable environmental exposures as causes of cancer but also in promoting insights into the role of genetic susceptibility and even mechanisms of action, including host-environment interactions and the multistage process of carcinogenesis.