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Assessment of Risk Factors for Lung Cancer Incidence Across Counties in Pennsylvania

Patel, Prital (2020) Assessment of Risk Factors for Lung Cancer Incidence Across Counties in Pennsylvania. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh.

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Abstract

With over 6,000 deaths yearly, lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Pennsylvania. Smoking is the greatest risk factor linked to lung cancer onset with meta-analyses showing a relative risk of 8.43. While extensive research has been done on the relationship of smoking to development of lung cancer, less is known about possible effects of other risk factors such as low air quality, food environment index and as well as possible effects fracking (measured as the total number of wells and number of violations). Most of these risk factors have been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, but less is known about possible impacts that a combination of these risk factors have on lung cancer incidence. The public health significance of this study is that if a combination of these risk factors play a meaningful role in the risk of lung cancer, public health professionals could develop targeted interventions to reduce the impact of these factors and therefore decrease the number of cases and deaths due to lung cancer.
With over 6,000 deaths yearly, lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Pennsylvania. Smoking is the greatest risk factor linked to lung cancer onset with meta-analyses showing a relative risk of 8.43. While extensive research has been done on the relationship of smoking to development of lung cancer, less is known about possible effects of other risk factors such as low air quality, food environment index and as well as possible effects fracking (measured as the total number of wells and number of violations). Most of these risk factors have been associated with an increased risk of lung cancer, but less is known about possible impacts that a combination of these risk factors has on lung cancer incidence. The public health significance of this study is that if a combination of these risk factors plays a meaningful role in the risk of lung cancer, public health professionals could develop targeted interventions to reduce the impact of these factors and therefore decrease the number of cases and deaths due to lung cancer.
In this study, I assessed the possible effects of these factors on differences in lung cancer incidence rates across different Pennsylvania (PA) counties. I compared the lung cancer incidence rates, along with rates of smoking, air quality levels, food environment indexes and amounts of fracking wells across the 67 PA counties. Across the counties, incidence of lung cancer ranged from 46.7 to 78 cases per 100,000 individuals from 2012-106. As expected, across counties, the incidence of lung cancer increased significantly with the percentage of smokers (r=0.29, p<0.05). In addition, lung cancer incidence significantly increased as the food environment index decreased (r = -0.25, p<0.05), indicating that as access to food increased, lung cancer incidence decreased. However, no other factors were correlated with lung cancer incidence. Furthermore, after inclusion of smoking, none of the other factors were significant. In conclusion, as expected, smoking rates are significantly correlated with lung cancer incidence, but the other risk factors that I analyzed had minimal, if any, effects. However, measures of several risk factors were crude and the sample size (67 counties) is relatively small, thus the power to detect effects was low. Future data analysis, with more precise measures and across counties (or more sub regions within counties) across multiple states, will provide better insight on the impact of a combination of different risk factors on lung cancer incidence rates.


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Details

Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master's Thesis)
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Patel, Pritalpap51@pitt.edupap51
Contributors:
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKammerer, Candacecmk3@pitt.educmk3UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberBarron, Geraldgbarron@pitt.edugbarronUNSPECIFIED
Date: 8 April 2020
Date Type: Submission
Number of Pages: 48
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Public Health Genetics
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2020 20:54
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2020 20:54
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/38452

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