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Carcinogenicity assessment: addressing the challenges of cancer and chemicals in the environment

Abstract: 
Cancer is a key public health concern, being the second leading cause of worldwide morbidity and mortality after cardiovascular diseases. At the global level, cancer prevalence, incidence and mortality rates are increasing. These trends are not fully explained by a growing and ageing population: with marked regional and socioeconomic disparities, lifestyle factors, the resources dedicated to preventive medicine, and the occupational and environmental control of hazardous chemicals all playing a role. While it is difficult to establish the contribution of chemical exposure to the societal burden of cancer, a number of measures can be taken to better assess the carcinogenic properties of chemicals and manage their risks. This paper discusses how these measures can be informed not only by the traditional data streams of regulatory toxicology, but also by using new toxicological assessment methods, along with indicators of public health status based on biomonitoring. These diverse evidence streams have the potential to form the basis of an integrated and more effective approach to cancer prevention.