The Work of Richard Doll

Topics: Cancer, Epidemiology, Tobacco smoking Pages: 3 (895 words) Published: March 26, 2013
Richard Doll was a British physiologist well known for making links and relationships between different possessions which could provoke - diseases. He most significantly linked smoking to health issues, and alcohol with breast cancer. GLOBAL RECOGNITION (1)

1962: UN award for cancer research
1974: New York Academy of Science Presidential Award
1981: Bruce Medal, American College of Physicians
1983: Gold Medal, British Medical Association
1986: Royal Medal from the Royal Society
2000: Gold Medal from the European Cancer Society
2002: Norway's King Olaf V award for outstanding work on cancer

Doll identified the biggest lifestyle cause of cancer - smoking. The research was revolutionary for its time. Cigarettes were considered harmless and 80% of men had a regular habit. Doll and his colleague Sir Austin Bradford Hill embarked on their investigation at the request of the Medical Research Council because lung cancer rates were climbing, but they expected to pin the blame on the fumes from coal fires. When they administered questionnaires to patients with suspected cancers, they found that all those with confirmed lung cancer were smokers, and all those who got the all-clear were not. It took some years even after the publication of their paper in the British Medical Journal in 1950 before anybody took any notice. The pair did a second study in doctors, which found high rates of smokers dying from lung cancer. The government accepted the link in 1954. In 1972, Denis Healey became the first chancellor to raise taxes on tobacco, and Doll sent him a congratulatory letter. Doll went on to establish that smoking also caused other cancers and heart disease. Other work includes suicide and liver disease among doctors, the effects of the contraceptive pill, low-level radiation and gastric ulcers. (2) Smoking is the biggest cause of cancer and most of the other causes that have been positively identified by Doll and...
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