Lecture 10

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30 Nov 2010

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Lecture 10: A Social Cancer
What Is Cancer?
- Slightly like AIDS: poor people are more likely to get cancer just like HIV but link is not
straightforward, Cancer is linked closely to lifestyle (more money = smoking)
- Abnormal cell division and invasion of other cells
- More than 100 different types of cancer
- Exposure to Carcinogens (tobacco, radiation, chemicals, infections) ± working
conditions, linked to society rather than just bad luck
Types of Cancer
- Lung. Mostly but not wholly caused by smoking ± second hand smoke, passive smoking
- Smoking is less socially acceptable in modern day, laws against smoking
- Breast. Most common type of cancer among women
- raised awareness of breast cancer recently
- Cervical. Mostly caused by HPV, a sexually transmitted virus. Pap smear can screen for
protect that well against it ± closely linked to society
- Colorectal (colon/rectum). Poor diet, especially low fiber ± lifestyle, middle class people
have more choice of foods
- Prostate ± common in men over age of 60, curable but depends when it is detected
associated with AIDS. ± very rare form of cancer, early on high prevalence in
homosexual men with AIDS
Why might cancer be linked to geography?
- Most cancer is linked to environmental or lifestyle related issues. Usually cumulative
(risks increase slowly with exposure) ± TB is cumulative (daily exposure) as well
- Residence: Toxic chemicals, radiation, asbestos ± poor living conditions, affordable
- Work: Toxic chemicals, radiation, asbestos ± exposure, improper safety equipment
How is Cancer connected to social Inequalities
- Prevention (diet, environment, exercise, screening) ±social class: middle class have more
food choices, more leisure time, access to health care services/insurance, early screening
cancer can be treated, where you live (homes)
- Disease (HPV, AIDS) ± social inequalities, lifestyle ± high incidence of HPV in poor
countries, AIDS found mostly in Africa (poor continent),
- Cure (very expensive, waiting times) ± US insurance, Canada OHIP coverage,
pharmaceutical companies
Incidence of Cervical Cancer ± higher in Latin American, Africa, a bit in Asia
Poverty and Cancer (Tomatis)
- The is a clear link between poverty and cancer but no clear causal link (i.e. poverty can
increase and decrease the risk of cancer)
- Cervical cancer the closest connection to poverty ± lots of STD, no vaccines
- Chemicals associated with industries affect the poorest ± factories, low-paid jobs
- Treatment depends on wealth -
Gender and Cancer (Benigni)
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