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Am J Prev Med. 2008 Aug;35(2 Suppl):S141-50. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2008.05.006.

The social determinants of cancer: a challenge for transdisciplinary science.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143-0981, USA.


To make further significant advances in cancer control research, a transdisciplinary science approach is needed that integrates the study of the biological nature of cancer and its clinical applications with the behavioral and social influences on cancer. More-effective interventions to reduce the burden of cancer can be developed and implemented by the adoption of a transdisciplinary research framework that takes into account the social determinants of cancer and seeks to discover interactions among social, environmental, behavioral, and biological factors in cancer etiology. This paper addresses two critical issues in the science of team science: (1) a cross-disciplinary, multilevel framework for organizing future research, and (2) a perspective that could aid in the translation and dissemination of cancer research findings in health care and public health practice. This conceptual framework is designed to encourage transdisciplinary research that will integrate social determinants into cancer research. The authors' goal is to promote a more complete understanding of the causes of cancer that will lead to the improved translation and implementation of the results of research.

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