John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé


Cancer and the environment: Key figures and current situation Volume 13, issue 4, Juillet-Août 2014


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Service de biostatistique et UMR CNRS 5558
Batiment 4D
Centre Hospitalier Lyon Sud
69495 Pierre-Bénite cedex
* Tirés à part
  • Key words: cancer, carcinogens, environmental exposure, epidemiology, health risk assessment
  • DOI : 10.1684/ers.2014.0708
  • Page(s) : 305-11
  • Published in: 2014

The quantitative evaluation of the relation between cancer and the environment is among the more complex problems that epidemiology faces. The situations in developed and developing countries are extremely different, but the lack of reliable data in the latter makes a detailed analysis difficult. We can, however, predict that cancer will soon become a major health problem in developing countries. The international organizations in charge of health surveillance must anticipate this trend because primary prevention is still feasible. This article discusses mainly the current French situation and shows that the common assumption that the deterioration of our environment is the cause of a cancer epidemic has no scientific basis. The arguments in favor of this thesis are based on erroneous interpretations of the data, due in part to ignorance of descriptive epidemiology and its methods.