Education & Training

Graduate Studies

Course  EPIB-671

Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention
Special Topics in Epidemiology and Biostatistics: for oncology residents and fellows and graduate students in the health sciences.


  1. To review key concepts concerning carcinogenic mechanisms and pathogenesis with a view on formulating epidemiologic studies of cancer etiology and prognosis.
  2. To review the knowledge concerning the occurrence and the causes of human cancers and the means for preventing them.
  3. To examine the role of epidemiology in the study of cancer causes and prognostic factors and in the evaluation of preventive strategies.

Prerequisite: EPIB-606 or equivalent or permission of the instructor.

Session: Given every May at the Gerald Bronfman Centre.  Check the McGill calendar for details.

Credits: Academic 2, CME: 26

Course Format: Interactive lectures and discussion of pertinent articles; exam with multiple-choice and essay-type questions.

Topics to be Covered

  1. Molecular and cellular basis of carcinogenesis (Mutational theory of carcinogenesis; Oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes; Carcinogenicity as a multistep, multifactorial process of long latency)
  2. Descriptive epidemiology (Burden of cancer: worldwide and Canada; International variations; Time trends in North America)
  3. Epidemiology vs. other approaches for evaluating carcinogenicity (Experimental and epidemiologic approaches; Defining causality: the perspective of regulatory agencies)
  4. Epidemiologic methods (Common framework for identifying causes and prognostic factors)
  5. Causes of cancer: Paradigms and murky areas (Lifestyle: Tobacco smoking; Biological environment: microbial agents; Dietary influences; Occupational and environmental exposures)
  6. Cancer prevention (Primary: reducing the impact of risk factors; Secondary: the role of screening; Tertiary: studying cancer survival and prognostic factors)

Coordinator: Eduardo L. Franco