Richard Doll qualified in medicine in 1937, graduating from St. Thomas Hospital in London, but his main epidemiological work began when he joined the staff of the Medical Research Council in London following service in World War II. More than any other person, he was responsible for establishing smoking as the main cause of lung cancer. His early case-control study of the question with Austin Bradford Hill was not the first such study, but he and Hill followed up some 40,000 British doctors after collecting details of their smoking habits, a cohort study that was unique in its regular updating of the subjects’ smoking habits. The strong dose-response relation between lung cancer and smoking, together with the high standard and careful assessment of the study's ...

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