IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Economic progress as cancer risk factor. II: Why is overall cancer risk higher in more developed countries?


  • Svetlana V. Ukraintseva

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)

  • Anatoli I. Yashin

    (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)


Analysis of data on cancer incidence rates in different countries at different time periods revealed positive association between overall cancer risk and economic progress. Typical explanations of this phenomenon involve improved cancer diagnostics and elevated exposure to carcinogens in industrial countries. Here we provide evidence from human and experimental animal studies suggesting that some other factors associated with high economic development and Western life style may primarily increase the proportion of susceptible to cancer individuals in a population and thus contribute to elevated cancer risks in industrial countries. These factors include (but not limited to): (i) better medical and living conditions that “relax” environmental selection and increase share of individuals prone to chronic inflammation; (ii) several medicines and foods that are not carcinogenic themselves but affect the metabolism of established carcinogens; (iii) nutrition enriched with growth factors; (iv) delayed childbirth. The latter two factors may favor an increase in both cancer incidence rate and longevity in a population. This implies the presence of a trade-off between cancer and aging: factors that postpone aging may simultaneously enhance organism’s susceptibility to several cancers. Key words: cancer risk, individual susceptibility, economic progress, aging

Suggested Citation

  • Svetlana V. Ukraintseva & Anatoli I. Yashin, 2005. "Economic progress as cancer risk factor. II: Why is overall cancer risk higher in more developed countries?," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2005-022, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2005-022

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Svetlana Ukraintseva & Anatoli Yashin, 2003. "Individual Aging and Cancer Risk: How are They Related?," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 9(8), pages 163-196, October.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • Z0 - Other Special Topics - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:dem:wpaper:wp-2005-022. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Wilhelm). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.