John Libbey Eurotext

Environnement, Risques & Santé

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Environmental factors and social inequalities in cancer Volume 13, issue 4, Juillet-Août 2014

Author
Inserm
U1136 ERES
16 avenue Paul Vaillant Couturier
94807 Villejuif cedex
France
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  • Key words: cancer, environment, socioeconomic status
  • DOI : 10.1684/ers.2014.0714
  • Page(s) : 343-6
  • Published in: 2014

Large social inequalities are reported for cancer incidence. Here we seek to examine the extent to which environmental exposures may explain them. Convincing and consistent results are reported only for occupational exposures to carcinogens: studies find that these exposures contribute substantially to the social inequalities in cancer incidence, especially respiratory cancers among men. There is no consensus in the literature regarding the carcinogenicity of several environmental exposures, including stress at work and electromagnetic fields. It is therefore difficult to estimate their contribution to these social inequalities. The issues relating to air pollution are more particular, for its association with socioeconomic position differs by geographical context. Recent methodological developments, especially in geographical data collection and modeling, offer promise for future studies of environmental factors and both cancer incidence and social inequalities in cancer incidence.