The Environmental And Lifestyle Exposure Assessment (ELEA) Tool For Cancer Epidemiology Research In Low Resource Settings

Eleonora FELETTO, International Agency for Research on Cancer, France
SCHÜZ J. 1 , SITAS F. 2,3,4

1 Section of Environment and Radiation, International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
2 Cancer Research Division, Cancer Council NSW, Woolloomooloo, NSW, Australia
3 University of Sydney, School of Public Health, Australia
4 University of NSW, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Australia

PURPOSE: From 2008 to 2030 cancer incidence is predicted to increase by 61% globally but the importance of modifiable risk factors remains undescribed in much of the world’s population. Reducing modifiable risk factors could lower cancer incidence by 30-50%. However, their prevalence is largely theorised in low resource settings due to the absence of data. We aim to develop an easy-to-use and systematic process for collecting information on the prevalence of key cancer risk factors, the Environmental and Lifestyle Exposure Assessment (ELEA) project which includes a brief standardised questionnaire (ELEA tool) and protocols for its use (ELEA protocols).
METHODS: A review has been conducted to identify the key risk factors in low resource settings. The tool is being developed by searching existing literature for risk factors measurements that are potentially modifiable or important confounders, are most likely to have the greatest impact on the cancer burden, and have valid and reliable survey items tested in different populations with high response rates. In parallel, the protocols are being devised.
RESULTS: The ELEA tool is being developed using a combination of existing survey measurements items for review by content experts, which will use the Delphi method to reach a consensus. The ELEA protocols cover interviewer selection, interviewer training, participant recruitment, questionnaire administration and data analysis.
CONCLUSIONS: Current tools for cancer epidemiology lack universal applicability. By developing a concise, standard data collection tool, and taking advantage of web based flexible technology, ELEA will develop a strong collaborative research platform for comparative measurement of cancer risk factors, and by doing so, increase research capacity and address a gap in knowledge where it is implemented.
FUNDING SOURCE: EF’s work is being undertaken during the tenure of an IARC-Australia Postdoctoral Fellowship from the International Agency for Research on Cancer, supported by Cancer Council Australia (CCA).