Environmental carcinogens increase cancer incidence via both mutagenic and non-mutagenic mechanisms. There are over 500 known or suspected carcinogens classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Sequencing of both cancerous and histologically non-cancerous tissue has been instrumental in improving our understanding of how environmental carcinogens cause cancer. Understanding how and defining which environmental or lifestyle exposures drive cancer will support cancer prevention. Recent research is revisiting the mechanisms of early tumorigenesis, paving the way for an era of molecular cancer prevention.

Significance: Recent data have improved our understanding of how carcinogens cause cancer, which may reveal novel opportunities for molecular cancer prevention.

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