The most common gender-specific malignancies are cancers of the breast and the prostate. In developing countries, cancer screening of all at risk is impractical because of healthcare resource limitations. Thus, determining high-risk areas might be an important first screening step. This study explores incidence patterns of potential high-risk clusters of breast and prostate cancers in southern Iran.
This cross-sectional study was conducted in the province of Kerman, South Iran. Patient data were aggregated at the county and district levels calculating the incidence rate per 100,000 people both for cancers of the breast and the prostate. We used the natural-break classification with five classes to produce descriptive maps. A spatial clustering analysis (Anselin Local Moran’s I) was used to identify potential clusters and outliers in the pattern of these cancers from 2014 to 2017.
There were 1350 breast cancer patients (including, 42 male cases) and 478 prostate cancer patients in the province of Kerman, Iran during the study period. After 45 years of age, the number of men with diagnosed prostate cancer increased similarly to that of breast cancer for women after 25 years of age. The age-standardised incidence rate of breast cancer for women showed an increase from 29.93 to 32.27 cases per 100,000 people and that of prostate cancer from 13.93 to 15.47 cases per 100,000 during 2014–2017. Cluster analysis at the county level identified high-high clusters of breast cancer in the north-western part of the province for all years studied, but the analysis at the district level showed high-high clusters for only two of the years. With regard to prostate cancer, cluster analysis at the county and district levels identified high-high clusters in this area of the province for two of the study years.
North-western Kerman had a significantly higher incidence rate of both breast and prostate cancer than the average, which should help in designing tailored screening and surveillance systems. Furthermore, this study generates new hypotheses regarding the potential relationship between increased incidence of cancers in certain geographical areas and environmental risk factors.