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Epidemiology of cancer 

Epidemiology of cancer
Epidemiology of cancer

Anthony Swerdlow

, and Richard Peto

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date: 27 February 2021

The epidemiology of cancer is the investigation of the incidence and causes of the disease in people under different conditions of life. Such investigations have generally been the way in which reliable evidence about causal agents for cancer, and the magnitude of the risks from these agents, have been found. They have shown that any type of cancer that is common in one population is rare in some other, and that the differences between populations are mostly not genetic, but rather the consequences of behaviours and circumstances of life. In principle, cancers are largely preventable. The range of incidence rates between geographical and ethnic groups is more than 10-fold for each of the common cancers, and for some cancers is more than 100-fold. Large changes in rates of many tumours can occur in migrants compared with rates in their homeland and within populations over time, indicating the scope for prevention.

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