A risk assessment tool has been developed through the Cancer Control Program at South Eastern Sydney & Illawarra Health (SESIH) by UNSW researcher, Professor Bernard Stewart.
The publication of the research coincides with World Cancer Day.
“Our tool will help establish if the level of risk is high – say, on a par with smoking – or unlikely such as using deodorants, artificial sweeteners and drinking coffee or fluoridated water – or at risk bands in between,” said Professor Stewart.
“The media are filled with reports about possible causes of cancer: most commonly, a new and unexpected exposure to a previously suspected carcinogen.
“It’s one thing to know that arsenic is carcinogenic - but quite another to distinguish between different methods of exposure. That’s what this approach achieves,” said Professor Stewart. “For instance, smelter workers who are exposed to arsenic emissions are much more likely to develop cancer than children who have played on climbing frames constructed from arsenic-treated timber – but the carcinogen is the same.”
Until now there have only been mathematical risk assessments, which are complicated and of limited application.
“Our approach can be used whenever carcinogenic risk can be implied,” said Professor Stewart.
In an issue of the journal Mutation Research Reviews, the newly developed procedure has been applied to more than than 60 situations, ranging from active smoking to electromagnetic fields in the workplace – which are all deemed to offer some degree of carcinogenic risk. Consequently, each situation can be located within one of five bands corresponding to proven, likely, inferred, unknown or unlikely risk of carcinogenic outcome.
Surveys suggest that tobacco smoking is correctly identified as the major cause of cancer, but a host of other situations – using a mobile phone, air pollution, exposure to DDT, eating dioxin-contaminated fish, using hair dyes, and drinking alcoholic beverages – are often given similar risk status.
“We now have a means of indicating which carcinogenic risks are comparable by reference to the type of evidence available,” says Professor Stewart. “This risk assessment gives the lie to the attitude that ‘everything causes cancer’.”
The Cancer Council Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor Ian Olver, said The Cancer Council was frequently called on to provide evidence-based comment to help the media and public make sense of the many and frequent reports about risks from exposure to suspected carcinogens.
“Being able to draw on an evidence base that evaluates carcinogenic risk based on different types of exposure will be an invaluable resource to help organisations like The Cancer Council,” Professor Olver said. “We want to ensure the public has accurate information about where carcinogens pose a genuine concern and how people can best reduce their risk.”
Bernard Stewart | EurekAlert!
When wheels and heads are spinning - DFG research project on motion sickness in automated driving
22.05.2019 | Technische Universität Berlin
A new approach to targeting cancer cells
20.05.2019 | University of California - Riverside
Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...
With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.
Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...
'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.
However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...
Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future
When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...
Scientists develop a molecular recording tool that enables in vivo lineage tracing of embryonic cells
The beginning of new life starts with a fascinating process: A single cell gives rise to progenitor cells that eventually differentiate into the three germ...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Life Sciences
22.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy