STUDY OBJECTIVE This study investigates the spatial pattern of tumours in Europe to check the feasibility of a large scale ecological epidemiology approach to cancer in Europe.
SETTING The tumour types relative frequencies and cancer incidence (for men and women) reported in the European cancer registries were investigated by exploratory data analysis techniques. Socioeconomical descriptors of the female condition were considered as well.
MAIN RESULTS The classification of the European regional areas covered by the cancer registries followed almost exactly the boundaries set by the long and intermingled European history in terms of life styles and cultural heritage. This result supports the notion of a predominant role of environmental factors in cancer induction. Further support to the above result was given by the finding of a correlation between differential male-female cancer incidence, and socioeconomic descriptors of the female condition.
CONCLUSIONS From a methodological point of view, the consistency of these results pointed to the feasibility of an ecological approach to tumour epidemiology.
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Funding: this publication was supported by the ordinary funding of the Istituto Superiore di Santa' (Government Health Agency).
Conflicts of interest: none.
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