Trend Watch

Carcinogenic

When:

Lookups spiked on May 31, 2011

Why:

The World Health Organization released a study that linked cell phone use and cancer. The chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society said: "When we as consumers hear 'possibly carcinogenic,' we freak. But the data is not at all certain and needs further study."

Carcinogenic means "a substance or agent causing cancer." It comes from the Greek karkinos, meaning "crab"; the ancients believed that veins around a tumor looked like the crawling sea animal.

The astrological sign of Cancer also gets its name from the crab.

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