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Does lung cancer cause smoking?

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Risk, Chance, and Causation: Investigating the Origins and Treatment of Disease | Semantic Scholar

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Risk, Chance, and Causation Investigating the Origins and Treatment of Disease

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For additional information, see the Global Shipping Program terms and conditions - opens in a new window or tab No additional import charges on delivery Delivery: Varies Payments: Special financing available. An error occurred, please try again. Very Good: A book that does not look new and has been read but is in excellent condition. A noted clinical epidemiologist shows how evidence-based medicine can help us understand and assess news about health risks, cures, and treatment "breakthroughs" The press and other media constantly report news stories about dangerous chemicals in the environment, miracle cures, the safety of therapeutic treatments, and potential cancer-causing agents.

But what exactly is actually meant by "increased risk"--should we worry if we are told that we are at twice the risk of developing an illness? And how do we interpret "reduced risk" to properly assess the benefits of noisily touted dietary supplements?

Risk, Chance, and Causation, new book by Michael Bracken

Demonstrating the difficulty of separating the hype from the hypothesis, noted epidemiologist Michael Bracken clearly communicates how clinical epidemiology works. Using everyday terms, Bracken describes how professional scientists approach questions of disease causation and therapeutic efficacy to provide readers with the tools to help them understand whether warnings of environmental risk are truly warranted, or if claims of therapeutic benefit are justified.

To be clear, Fisher was not only a statistician but also a heavy smoker, so his view was probably biased. Nevertheless he had a point: correlations alone are not enough to establish causation. What else can explain correlation? Generally, if two variables A and B are correlated, there are at least four possible explanations:. So how was the causal link between cigarettes and lung cancer established? In the 50s and 60s a large number of studies came out that confirmed the correlation.

Furthermore, studies also showed that heavier smokers suffered more cancer than lighter smokers, and that pipe smokers developed more lip cancer while cigarette smokers developed more lung cancer. All that evidence taken together made the case clear. In , the U. Smoking, Terry concluded, is a health hazard. Sometimes correlations appear between two variables simply because both of them are caused by a third, unobserved variable.

One of the textbook examples is the correlation between the number of ice-cream sales and murder rates in New York City. Obviously, this correlation is caused by a third variable: season. Summertime is prime time for both ice cream as well as crime. Other times, a correlation caused by a third variable can be less obvious. This is an important issue, since heart disease is the leading cause of death for women above So why not, by default, recommend hormone replacement therapy for post-menopausal, low-estrogen women? In fact, this was the common wisdom before the turn of the Millennium.

In this case a third variable, menopause, affected both the rate of heart disease as well as estrogen level, causing the observed correlation that was mistaken for a causation.