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increased susceptibility of an entire area to carcinogenesis; the upper aerodigestive tract and colon, for example, tend to develop synchronous as well as metachronous cancers.
The transformation of healthy cells into cancer cells within an entire region of the body rather than just within a single locale or tissue. Tobacco smoke, which diffusely pervades the oral and respiratory tract, may cause cancer not just in the mouth, but also in the entire field into which smoke is inhaled, e.g., the nose, throat, larynx, trachea, bronchi, lungs, and esophagus.Synonym: field effect
See also: carcinogenesis