Cancer and Genetic Toxicology

A Small Dose of Cancer

  • An Introduction to Cancer and Genetic Toxicology

Causes of Cancer

  • Lifestyle - Tobacco consumption, alcohol
  • Nutrition (diet, fat, high calories)
  • Environmental exposures - Chemicals in air, drinking water
  • Tobacco products
  • Organic chemicals - Benzo(a)pyrene (coal tar), benzene, solvents, alcohol, dyes
  • Inorganic chemicals and agents - Arsenic, cadmium, nickel
  • Fibers - Asbestos
  • Radiation - Sun (ultraviolet), radioactive material
  • Drugs - DES (diethylstilbestrol)
  • Viruses - Epstein-Barr virus, HIV, papillomavirus
  • Genetic factors - Increased likelihood (ex. breast cancer)

Cancer and Genetic Toxicology Chapter

PowerPoint Presentation

Selected History of Cancer


Cancer Type



Scrotal cancer



Skin cancer



Lung cancer

Uranium mining


Bladder cancer

Aniline dye


Skin cancer




Filterable agents


Experimental induction of skin cancers

Coal tar


Experimental induction of skin cancers

UV light

Exposure to Cancer-Causing Agents




Tobacco consumption – drinking alcohol – diet

Environmental exposures

Air, drinking water

Organic chemicals

Benzo(a)pyrene (in coal tar), benzene

Inorganic chemicals and metals

Arsenic, cadmium, nickel




Sun (ultraviolet), radioactive material


DES (diethylstilbestrol)


Epstein-Barr virus, AIDS, papillomavirus


Increased likelihood (breast cancer)

More Information

European, Asian, and International Agencies

  • World Health Organization (WHO). Cancer. Site has information on international exposure to a wide range of compounds that cause cancer.
  • Australia SunSmart. An Australian site that focuses on skin cancer and its primary cause, the sun.
  • Australia: Cancer Council Victoria. "The Cancer Council Victoria is an independent, volunteer-based charity whose mission is to lead, coordinate, implement, and evaluate action to minimize the human cost of cancer for all Victorians."
  • Chrysotile Institute. The Chrysotile Institute is dedicated to promoting the safe use of asbestos in Canada and throughout the world. (French and English.)
  • Cancer Research UK. Provides a free information service about cancer and cancer care for people with cancer and their families.
  • Japan: National Cancer Center. Site has information on the treatment and cause of cancer for Japan. (Japanese or English versions available.)

North American Agencies

General Information on Cancer

  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Cancer Prevention and Control. The CDC monitors cancer incidence and promotes cancer prevention and control.
  • US National Cancer Institute (NCI). Cancer Information Service (CSI). A service of the US National Cancer Institute, CSI is a "source for the latest, most accurate cancer information for patients, their families, the general public,and health professionals."
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Guidelines for Carcinogen Risk Assessment. EPA cancer risk assessment guidelines.
  • US National Cancer Institute (NCI). The NCI, established under the National Cancer Act of 1937, is the Federal Government's principal agency for cancer research and training.
  • US National Cancer Institute (NCI). The Cancer Mortality Maps & Graph Website. This site provides interactive maps, graphs (which are accessible to the visuallyimpaired), text, tables, and figures showing geographic patterns and time trends of cancer death rates for the time period 1950-1994 for more than 40 cancers.

Benzene Information

  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Benzene. Hazard fact sheet on benzene.

Asbestos Information

  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Asbestos. Extensive information on asbestos.

Radon Information

  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Radon. US EPA has extensive information on radon exposure in the US.

Non-Government Organizations

  • The American Cancer Society (ACS). The ACS is a nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy, and service.
  • Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society (formerly Environmental Mutagen Society). EMGS fosters research on the basic mechanisms of mutagenesis as well as on the application of this knowledge in the field of genetic toxicology.
  • National Radon Safety Board (NRSB). "The NRSB seeks to encourage the highest standards of practice and integrity in radon services through the development of independent standards and procedures for certifying, approving and accrediting radon testers, mitigators, measurement devices, chambers and laboratories."
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