A new scientific publication of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) examines the global problem of social inequalities in cancer.

The publication summarizes the best scientific evidence available on the subject, based on the knowledge of more than 70 international scientists from different disciplines, highlighting the large variations in the incidence of cancer, survival and mortality; that exist between countries and, within countries, between social groups.

"Particular attention is given to how the phenomenon of cancer inequalities evolves and is reshaped over time, driven by economic, social, political, legislative and technological forces; it affects everyone, but the individuals of the groups more; disadvantaged get sick more", says Salvatore Vaccarella, scientist of the Epidemiology of Infections and Cancer group at the IARC and coordinator of the initiative.

Social inequalities have a strong impact in every phase of the oncological continuum and in all phases of life. The systemic differences between social groups influence an individual's exposure to risk factors and probability; to develop cancer, and the access to screening, diagnosis and treatment facilities, and palliative care.

Cancer inequalities, which also have important economic implications, are largely preventable, although may require a concerted action at many levels.

The volume "Reducing Social Inequalities in Cancer: Evidence and Priorities for Research" is available and downloadable online.