Cancer and Ongoing Climate Change: Who Are the Most Affected?

Pei Yu, Rongbin Xu, Zhengyu Yang, Tingting Ye, Yanming Liu, Shanshan Li, Michael J. Abramson, Michael Kimlin, Yuming Guo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


Cancer has become the leading cause of premature death in many counties in recent decades. Previous studies showed plenty of evidence that control of modifiable risk factors would reduce the cancer burden. Since modifiable risk factors could be eliminated by changing the lifestyles of individuals, a greater uptake of modifiable risk factors is critical to reducing cancer burden and inequality in cancer survival. However, climate change will widen cancer inequities through its complex connections with modifiable risk factors. In this perspective, complex connections between climate change and cancer risks via modifiable risk factors, including abnormal temperature, UV, air pollution, natural disasters, food (diet), water, infections, and inefficient physical activities, have been summarized. The associations between climate change and modifiable risk factors have no doubt expanded the inequities. People who face overlapping modifiable risk factors, but who are unable to change or adapt, are at the highest risk in the climate change-cancer linkage. Though individual actions to avoid exposure to modifiable risk factors have been recommended, limited benefits would be achieved unless the nations strive to ensure the basic needs of the people. No choice makes avoiding exposure to risk factors an empty phrase. Thus, government actions should be taken to reduce the expanded inequities in cancer risks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-11
Number of pages7
JournalACS Environmental Au
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


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