[Cancers and environmental exposures: Between uncertainties and certainties]

Bull Cancer. 2019 Nov;106(11):975-982. doi: 10.1016/j.bulcan.2019.08.017. Epub 2019 Oct 10.
[Article in French]


While improvements in the environment and living conditions have contributed to a significant increase in human longevity for over a century, the role of environmental factors in the occurrence of cancer has become a public health concern. It is recognized that a number of environmental factors such as environmental quality (air, water, soil), or environmental changes contribute to the occurrence of certain cancers. Despite this awareness, their potential impacts on health raise many scientific questions. The development of new methodological tools for the characterization of exposure, the study of the association between environmental agents and cancer through an exposure-cancer approach and the health impacts associated, have led to changes in scientific paradigms including the concept of exposome. This concept, at the heart of health and environmental issues, takes into account the determinants of health related to the quality of populations' living environments and provides assistance in public policy decision-making. Ultimately, the aim is to develop measures likely to reduce exposure and prevent health risks and damage to the most vulnerable populations, both in their physical environment and in their living environment, including the economic and social determinants.

Keywords: Cancer; Déterminants socioéconomiques; Environment; Environnement; Exposome; Paradigm; Paradigme; Socio-economic determinants.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogens, Environmental / toxicity*
  • Causality
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Health
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors


  • Carcinogens, Environmental