Research Sections

Section of IARC Monographs

The first step in cancer prevention is to identify the causes of cancer. National and international health agencies can then take action to prevent avoidable exposures to known, probable and possible carcinogens. Individuals, too, can use this information to make better choices that will reduce their exposure to cancer-causing agents.

This Section produces the IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans. The IARC Monographs are a series of scientific reviews that identify environmental factors that can increase the risk of cancer. Sometimes called WHO's “Encyclopaedia of Carcinogens,” the IARC Monographs have reviewed more than 900 agents and have identified more than 400 known, probable and possible carcinogens.

The Section also convenes scientific workshops on the use of new kinds of information to identify carcinogens. Studies of molecular epidemiology and of mechanisms of carcinogenesis have the potential to identify new chemicals and complex exposures that contribute to cancer development but have not or cannot be studied by other means.

The Section receives major funding from the U.S. National Cancer Institute. Other sources of external funding include the European Commission Directorate-General of Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.