Bernardino Ramazzini: Early Cancer Epidemiology

Nuns reading

Ramazzini noticed the virtual absence of cervical cancer among nuns, and the high incidence of breast cancer within the same population. He concluded that this difference must be due to their different lifestyle, namely their abstinence. This observation lead the way to discovering the importance of hormonal factors in cancer.  His work is a very early example of an epidemiological study.  He is also known as the 'father' of occupational health for authoring his most well known work - De Morbis Artificum Diatriba (Diseases of Workers).1