Epidemiology of Gastrointestinal Cancer
Environmental Health Perspectives
Some 99,000 new cases of cancer of the colon are expected next year, an incidence rate higher than that for both cancer of the lung and cancer of the breast. Evidence from geographic pathology suggests that some environmental factors play a strong role in its etiology. Data obtained in the 1959 survey of one million people by the American Cancer Society and followed since, has failed to show correlation with any of the large number of factors listed. It is suggested that the etiology is one of
... etiology is one of multiple factors. The synergistic effect of exposure to asbestos and cigarette smoking in the production of bronchogenic carcinoma is demonstrated by data on cohorts of insulation workers. There was also a modest increase in the number of deaths from gastrointestinal cancer in asbestos workers, but smoking did not seem to act in synergistic fashion at that site, except perhaps in the esophagus. Deaths from cancer occurred almost entirely after a period of 20 years or more from initial exposure. The death rate from cancer tended to increase with duration of exposure, but a distinct rise over the expected was seen in those who had been exposed less than one year to amosite dust.