Lung cancer historical perspective
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Prior to the introduction of cigarette smoking and industrial carcinogens, lung cancer was thought to be a rare disease. Of all the tumors detected on autopsy, lung cancer accounted for only 1% of cancers in the 1800s. The majority of cases of lung cancer were associated with occupational hazards due to radon exposure. The association between lung cancer and smoking was not defined until the mid-20th century.
- The historical data on lung cancer is described below:
- The majority of cases of lung cancer were associated with occupational hazards. Death among miners was reported to be caused by Bergkrankheit (mountain sickness).
- During World War 1, cigarette smoking gained popularity because the soldiers used to smoke in trenches to relieve stress, so did the civilians and the women at home. General John J. (“Black Jack”) Pershing reportedly stated: “You ask me what it is we need to win this war. I answer tobacco as much as bullets.”
- In 1924, radon gas was first reported to be a prominent cause of lung cancer among miners.
- In 1929, Fritz Lickint, a German physician, published a paper and suggested that lung cancer patients were likely to be smokers.
- In 1929, Fritz Lickint launched an anti-tobacco campaign in Germany.
- In the 1930s, clinicians started suspecting the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer due to an increased number of cases.
- The association between lung cancer and smoking was not defined until the mid-20th century. The first reports between lung cancer and smoking were often confounded by gender, given that men were more likely to be smokers compared to women.
- In the 1950s, Doll and Hill in England provided additional corroboration for a causal association between smoking and lung cancer.
- In the 1950s, Cuyler Hammond and Ernest Wynder in the U.S provided additional corroboration for a causal association between smoking and lung cancer.
- In 1961, the first case of adenocarcinoma of the lung was reported.
- The 1969, Springer Handbook of Special Pathology is considered to be the landmark publication that highlighted the role of smoking in the development of lung cancer in over 25 pages.
- In 1969, the first surgeon general warning suggesting cigarette smoking to be a hazard for lung cancer was issued.
- In the 1980s, cisplatin-based chemotherapy emerged and demonstrated modest efficacy in the reduction of tumor related symptoms and the improvement of quality of life.
- Witschi H (2001). "A short history of lung cancer". Toxicological Sciences : an Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology. 64 (1): 4–6. PMID 11606795. Retrieved 2011-12-09. Unknown parameter
- Hecht SS (1999). "Tobacco smoke carcinogens and lung cancer". J. Natl. Cancer Inst. 91 (14): 1194–210. PMID 10413421.
- Kluger, R. (1996). Ashes to ashes: America's hundred-year cigarette war, the public health, and the unabashed triumph of Philip Morris. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
- Proctor, Robert (2000). The Nazi war on cancer. Princeton, N.J. Oxford: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691070513.
- Morabia, Alfredo (2012). "Quality, originality, and significance of the 1939 "Tobacco consumption and lung carcinoma" article by Mueller, including translation of a section of the paper". Preventive Medicine. 55 (3): 171–177. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.05.008. ISSN 0091-7435.
- Mueller F. Tabakmissbrauch und Lungencarcinom. Z. Krebsforsch. 1939;49:57–85.
- Wynder, E. L. (1994). Prevention and cessation of tobacco use: Obstacles and challenges. J. Smoking-Related Dis. 5(Suppl. 1), 3–8.
- Hanspeter Witschi ITEH and Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, California 95616