Etiological epidemiology

By conducting analytical epidemiologic studies, this area of activity aims to assess the effects of the cancer risk factors that may be considered the most relevant for the Piemonte population.

The choice of studies is strongly oriented by their potential implications for prevention, and many research projects take advantage of the data and organizational framework provided by the regional cancer registry.

Studies here included may investigate:

  • well recognized associations between tumours and certain carcinogenic agents (like malignant mesothelioma and asbestos, cigarette smoking and lung cancer);
  • effects of agents whose carcinogenicity is less well known (such as UV radiation and phenotype in relation to skin neoplasms) or only suspected (like diet, motor vehicle exhausts or ELF and radiofrequency electromagnetic fields).

In the first case our aim is to assess exposures impact on the population, in the second it is to contribute to the definition of their causal role. Most studies are aiming at investigating health effects at low exposure doses and after exposure circumstances currently prevailing in the population.

Our research fields include also cancers with poorly understood etiology, like testicular cancers, and in recent years survival after different neoplasms and the late effects of cancer treatment.

These latter investigations are included in the Etiological epidemiology area of activity if their main objective is to assess the role of individual determinants (personal traits of exposures) on prognosis or late effects, rather than just describing survival or the occurrence of late effects.

Lastly, some research fields of particular methodological relevance have been developed even if they involve non-neoplastic diseases.