Research Sections

Section of Environment and Radiation

The overall objectives of the Section of Environment and Radiation (ENV) are to investigate environmental, lifestyle, occupational, and radiation-related causes of cancer in human populations. The Section investigates these exogenous factors with the aims of contributing to primary prevention of cancer, increasing our understanding of biological mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and assessing the impact of environmental factors in the prognosis and course of disease and how to best implement protection. These objectives are achieved through collaborative international epidemiological studies using a multidisciplinary approach or through the initiation of individual analytical epidemiological studies. The Section also coordinates international consortia of epidemiological studies.

With studies related to environmental, lifestyle, occupational, or radiation-related exposures the scope of the Section is broad.

The main areas of environmental, occupational, and lifestyle-related research include pesticides and cancer (in particular, testicular cancer, breast cancer and haematological malignancies), occupational carcinogens and lung cancer, asbestos and cancer, lifestyle-related and environmental risk factors for oesophageal cancer, lifestyle-related occurrence and survival of breast cancer in Africa, and risk factors for childhood leukaemia. Related to exposure to ionizing radiation, the Section has projects to study the effects of protracted low doses of external ionizing radiation from medical diagnostic examinations and from occupational activities, and studies of populations exposed to Chernobyl fallout and to radiation contamination in the Southern Urals and in the territories adjacent to the former Semipalatinsk nuclear weapons test site in Kazakhstan. With regard to non-ionizing radiation, research continues on possible cancer risks related to mobile phone use.