15,000 cases of cancer could be prevented by improving living conditions

Nearly 15,000 cases of cancer could be prevented every year by improving the living conditions and health of the most disadvantaged populations, says a study published in the weekly epidemiological bulletin of the health agency France Public Health. This potential gain would be greater for men than for women and maximal for lung cancer, the authors note.

The analysis – the first of its kind in France – examines the influence of the socio-economic environment on the incidence (number of new annual cases) of the disease, which differs between the affected organs. It covered 189,144 people, including 78,845 women, who had cancer between 2006 and 2009 and lived in one of the sixteen departments with a register of this disease.

The study confirms, on the basis of French data, the upheaval of cancers of the upper respiratory and digestive tracts for populations in disadvantaged areas. “The social identification of certain risk factors such as tobacco consumption, occupational exposures or air pollutants may account for a significant part of the observed differences,” explains Joséphine Bryère, a researcher at the National Institute of Health and Research.

On the other hand, the survey shows, which is new, that other cancers – liver, stomach, pancreas and bladder – could also be more frequent in disadvantaged populations, reports Professor Guy Launoy.

The proportion of cancer cases attributable to a disadvantaged socioeconomic environment was the highest for laryngeal cancers (30%), mouth-pharyngeal lip (26.6%), lung (19.9%) and Of the esophagus (16.7%) in men, and in women, lip-mouth-pharyngeal (22.7%) and cervical (21%) cancers, Stomach (16.4%).