Evaluating neighborhood correlates and geospatial distribution of breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer incidence

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Introduction: Though cancer research has traditionally centered on individual-level exposures, there is growing interest in the geography of both cancer and its risk factors. This geographic and epidemiological research has consistently shown that cancer outcomes and their known causal exposures exhibit geographic variation that coincide with area-level socioeconomic status and the composition of neighborhoods. A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate geospatial variation for female breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer incidence in Baltimore City. Materials and Methods: Using a Maryland Cancer Registry dataset of incident breast, cervical, and colorectal cancers (N = 4,966) among Baltimore City female residents diagnosed from 2000 to 2010, spatial and epidemiological analyses were conducted through choropleth maps, spatial cluster identification, and local Moran's I. Ordinary least squares regression models identified characteristics associated with the geospatial clusters. Results: Each cancer type exhibited geographic variation across Baltimore City with the neighborhoods showing high incidence differing by cancer type. Specifically, breast cancer had significant low incidence in downtown Baltimore while cervical cancer had high incidence. The neighborhood covariates associated with the geographic variation also differed by cancer type while local Moran's I identified discordant clusters. Discussion: Cancer incidence varied geographically by cancer type within a single city (county). Small area estimates are needed to detect local patterns of disease when developing health and preventative programs. Given the observed variability of community-level characteristics associated with each cancer type incidence, local information is essential for developing place-, social-, and outcome-specific interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number471
JournalFrontiers in Oncology
Issue numberOCT
StatePublished - 2018


  • Cancer disparities
  • Cancer incidence
  • Geospatial analysis
  • Social determinants of health
  • Spatial clusters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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