The Epidemiologic Transition Revisited: Incorporating into This Seminal Theory What We Now Know About Cancers

Omer Gersten, University of California, Berkeley
Magali Barbieri, Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)
John R. Wilmoth, University of California, Berkeley

Many researchers consider cancer a "classic" example of a noninfectious, chronic and degenerative disease, although much recent research suggests that many cancers indeed stem from infectious sources. These infectious sources include H. pylori, hepatitis B and C, and the human papillomavirus. Additionally, in other relevant research, investigators have tried to "update" Omran’s original epidemiologic transition by claiming that populations/societies have moved beyond the third stage of the transition. Our findings in this paper, drawn from currently developed countries (US, England and Wales, France, and Japan), suggest that the degree of cancer mortality that stems from an infectious origin are declining, but that cancer deaths of a noninfectious origin are increasing. The findings here, then, suggest that many countries have still not moved beyond Omran's third stage of the epidemiologic transition and indeed this stage is still very relevant and useful for explaining broad changes in disease patterns as nations develop.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Session 174: Cause-of-Death Trends and Health Transition