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Our research into cancer prevention and causes

Around 50 years ago, one of our best known scientists, Professor Sir Richard Doll, was the first to show that smoking led directly to lung cancer. Today, smoking is known to be the single biggest cause of cancer in the world, and accounts for one in four UK cancer deaths.

The harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke increase the risk of more than a dozen types of cancer. You can read more about the links between smoking and cancer on our Healthy Living pages. Our researchers continue to investigate exactly how these chemicals damage cells throughout the body and contribute to the development of this disease.

One of Cancer Research UK’s aspirational goals for 2020 is that ‘The number of smokers will fall dramatically’. Importantly, our scientific experts in this field are striving to find effective new ways to help people successfully quit smoking. This work has the potential to save many thousands of lives in the future.

Below are some of the highlights of our smoking research portfolio.

Researcher listing

7 researchers found. Filter results:

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Jillian Birch

Looking for the causes of childhood cancer
Paediatric & Familial Cancer Research Group

University of Manchester

Researcher Jack Cuzick profile image
Jack Cuzick

Cancer prevention and screening
Centre for Cancer Prevention

Queen Mary, University of London

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Malcolm Dunlop

The genetic causes of bowel cancer
Molecular & Clinical Medicine

University of Edinburgh

Researcher Gerard Hastings profile image
Gerard Hastings

Finding new ways to reduce smoking rates

University of Stirling

Researcher Chris Paraskeva profile image
Chris Paraskeva

Preventing and treating bowel cancer
Cellular and Molecular Medicine

University of Bristol

Researcher David Phillips profile image
David Phillips

Investigating cancer-causing molecules in our environment
School of Biomedical Sciences

King's College London

Researcher Jane Wardle profile image
Jane Wardle

Health behaviour and cancer risk
Department of Epidemiology and Public Health

University College London

Updated: 17 September 2009