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By Research, and Medicine. Roundtable on Environment Health Sciences

In response to a workshop of the Roundtable on Environmental healthiness Sciences, examine, and drugs. Held may perhaps 16-17, 2001. Softcover.

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Extra resources for Cancer and the Environment

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The point of telling the story about the atomic explosion was that exploding the atmosphere was something that seemed necessary during the Cold War, but we now know that exposure to strontium-90 and other noxious radiation from atmospheric testing could eventually kill us all. In 1963, led by President John F. Kennedy, we signed the first test ban treaty. For many years, nearly no country has tested in the atmosphere and we are healthier because of it. What is important about this story is that there was such broad agreement in the scientific community about the health effects of such testing that it was impossible for policymakers to ignore the evidence.

Analysis of these mutations can provide clues to the mutagenic mechanisms and the function of specific regions of p53. Genetic polymorphisms are likely to play a role in the risk of lung cancer in smokers, ex-smokers, and individuals exposed to secondhand smoke. For example, women with a GST-null (glutathione Stransferase) genotype have about a twofold increased risk of developing lung cancer, and if they are exposed to high levels of environmental tobacco smoke, the risks are five- or sixfold higher.

ENVIRONMENTAL, GENETICS, AND CANCER 31 The data presented by Hemminki on twins, families, and second cancers provide additional support to the multistage theory of carcinogenesis. If most cancers are indeed polygenic, this should be adequately considered in study designs for gene mapping approaches. Linkage analysis in families of multiple affected individuals is not sufficient to identify cancer-related genes, said Hemminki. Instead, what are needed are large case-control studies with stringent clinical criteria so that the different types of cancer can be distinguished and there is a large enough sample size to enable even the rare homozygotes to be scored, emphasized Hemminki.

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