Settled Science? Smoking declines, lung cancer cases increase


I am afraid I find that whenever I hear the claim of “science being settled” – whether in medicine or astronomy or climate or physics – I am immediately suspicious that a political agenda is being pursued. Recent examples only convince me that there are few “scientific conclusions” free of a political agenda any more.
A new survey in the Upsala-  Örebro healthcare region of Sweden has found that though smoking has been declining since the 1970’s, the number of cases of lung cancer have increased by 41% since the mid 90’s.
Svenska Dagbladet reports (free translation):
To some extent this survey reflects smoking behaviour of a few decades ago since lung cancer typically develops only after several decades of intense smoking. But Associate Professor Gunnar Wagenius, chief physician at the University Hospital cancer clinic in Uppsala, is still surprised, given that smoking among men has fallen since the 1970s, while lung cancer cases have stopped falling and even started to rise again.
“It suggests that there are one or more additional factors other than smoking, which slowed this decline. What these factors might be is as yet very mysterious”, he told the Upsala Nya Tidning.
Lung cancer increased among women most as a consequence of changes in smoking habits. In the study, the researchers analyzed statistics from the regional registry for lung cancer, which started in 1995. The 598 registered cases in the seven counties in the healthcare region had risen to845 cases last year.
The study will be reported later today at the National Medical conference in Gothenburg.



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