Scientists have just developed a way to determine whether environmental exposures were responsible for an individual’s cancer. Mass spectrometry combined with statistical analysis of archived biopsy samples can now help doctors determine whether a specific carcinogen caused the tumor. This will be helpful in determining which chemicals are most dangerous and should be most scrupulously avoided. It may also be hoped that at some point getting this type of detailed information about the origin of a tumor will be useful for physicians figuring out how best to treat it.
[American Chemical Society’s 246th National Meeting & Exposition, Indianopolis, Sept. 9, 2013]
One type of exposure that we worry about is to a medication that may increase the risk of cancer. It is also helpful to know when food or medicines are able to reduce the risk of cancer, and which tumors are most susceptible to prevention in that manner.