Divisions & Programs

Cancer Epidemiology

Cancer Epidemiology conducts epidemiologic research on the etiology and prognosis of cancers of greatest global public health importance, with an emphasis on recommending preventive practices.

Established in 1988 thanks to a generous endowment to McGill by The Cancer Research Society, Cancer Epidemiology is primarily a departmental unit in the Gerald Bronfman Department of Oncology; however it is also officially recognized as the Cancer Epidemiology Unit in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, along with the established clinical epidemiology units based in the McGill hospitals.

Bronfman CentreThe primary research focus is the use of molecular epidemiologic approaches to study cancer cause and prognostic factors. The majority of the research consists of studies on the etiology and primary and secondary prevention of cervical cancer, upper aero-digestive tract tumours, and childhood malignancies. Multiple investigations have been carried out on the natural history of cervical cancer and its precursor lesions and risk determinants, particularly human papillomavirus infection (HPV). Researchers have also looked at the epidemiology of environmental and social determinants of upper aero-digestive tract cancers and childhood cancers.

Studies have provided useful insights into what triggers cervical cancer development, and findings have had an impact on current screening practices and preventive strategies for this disease. Members of Cancer Epidemiology have served as consultants to the industry on the development of HPV vaccines (GSK and Merck) and novel cervical cancer screening methods (Cyte, Digene).

Cancer Epidemiology has also been active in the development of mathematical models to assess the cost-effectiveness of cancer preventive strategies in Canada and internationally. Much of this research has been international, with studies and collaborations in Brazil, in the Congo Republic of Africa, and with the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France.

Cancer Epidemiology provides statistical and study planning expertise to researchers in the Department of Oncology, and is responsible for all of the teaching in cancer epidemiology and prevention to McGill undergraduate and graduate students.

Contact Information

Dr. Eduardo Franco
(514) 398-6032
Anna Tzagourni
(514) 398-8014