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Carcinog Compr Surv. 1985;8:23-37.

Enhancement of lung cancer by cigarette smoking in uranium and other miners.


There are substantial animal and epidemiological data related to cigarette smoking and lung cancer among miners exposed to elevated levels of radon daughters that appears to be in disagreement. An hypothesis is advanced that explains most of this disagreement as being derived from temporal differences of cancer expression. The hypothesis is that a given radiation exposure induced a finite number of lung cancers, which have shorter latent periods due to the cancer promotion activity of smoke among cigarette smokers. According to this hypothesis, the life-shortening effect is greater among smoking miners than nonsmoking miners, and the ultimate number of lung cancers among smoking miners will be only a little larger than among nonsmokers. The greater number will derive from the additive effect of radiation and smoking, plus the greater force of competing causes of death among elderly nonsmokers.

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