The author presents some data and estimates about incidence, mortality and prevalence of the oncological diseases, in Italy and around the World, focusing on gender differences and those between countries with different levels of development. After some remarks on the economic and social costs of this plague of our time, are reviewed, along with the biological ones, lifestyles and environmental factors that contribute to the onset of the disease and explain the insistence of the institutions on the fundamental role of prevention. Media campaigns promoted for this purpose are partially effective, because are object of antagonistic pushes of deep-rooted social norms, habits and addictions, marketing and other powerful factors. The author reports some data, representative of economic and political interests tied to the rootedness of behaviors and environmental risk factors that suggest to carefully consider, in addition to the individual level, the structural determinants to be tackled for effective prevention of cancer.
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