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December 3, 1960


JAMA. 1960;174(14):1852-1853. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030140074017

Epidemiological research, which proved of great value in unravelling the pathogenesis of communicable disease, has recently been directed increasingly toward studies of non-communicable disorders. It has been clear since Pott's observations on chimney sweep cancer that environmental factors can markedly influence the development of certain cancers, particularly those of epidermoid type. In the absence of specific stimuli these cancers, e. g., cancer of the cervix, occur but rarely. The rarity of cervical cancer among virginal women has clearly incriminated a factor associated with married life. The study by Terris and Oalmann in this issue of The Journal, p. 1847, in agreement with previous investigations, makes the important observation that cervical cancer is not promoted by pregnancy but rather by a factor associated with coitus itself. The authors find a number of variables, such as early and more frequent coitus, multiple sexual partners, multiple marriages, and non-use of contraceptives, more common

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