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Organ Specific Cancer Incidence in an Industrial Sub-district: A Population-based Study with 12 Years Follow-up

Yakir Rottenberg, Aviad Zick, Micha Barchana, Tamar Peretz


Background: Although emissions from petrochemical industries have been recognized as a cause of an increased in cancer deaths, its contribution to specific organ cancer incidence has not been investigated in a cohort study with an adequate sample size.

Objectives: To assess the association between organ specific cancer incidence and living in industrial subdistrict compared to other areas in Israel after controlling for socio- demographic variables.

Methods: Retrospective cohort study using baseline measurements from the Central Bureau of Statistics 1995 census living in the Haifa subdistrict, which houses major industrial facilities in Israel, compared to the rest of Israel. The census database was linked with the Israel Cancer Registry for cancer data. Smoking prevalence data was obtained from the Central Bureau of Statistics 1996/7 and 1999/2000 health surveys.

Results: A total of 175704 persons were included with a total of 8034 cancer cases. The mean age was 31 years (range: 0-101 years). In the analysis including all the target population the hazard ratio to develop cancer comparing Haifa subdistrict to non- Haifa was 1.16 (95% CI: 1.11-1.21, p<0.001) after adjusted for age, gender, Jews vs. non-Jews and continent of birth. Compared to the incidence in the rest of Israel, the Haifa subdistrict population had an elevated hazard ratio of lung, head and neck, colorectal, gastric and esophagus, bladder and cervical carcinoma. In discrepancy with this observation, people in the Haifa sub-district do not smoke more than in the rest of Israel.

Conclusions: We report an increased risk of developing cancer in a heavily industrialized sub-district, mainly among sites which are very similar to cancer sites caused by smoking.

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