Cancer mortality by urbanization and proximity to the sea coast in Campania region, southern Italy

Ettore Bidoli, Silvia Franceschi, Maurizio Montella

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Aims and background: The risk for several cancers is higher in urban than in rural areas. The gradient has seldom been studied in southern Europe. Patients and methods: The geographical pattern of mortality for different cancers and all causes was studied in the Campania Region (about 5.6 million inhabitants), whose largest town is Naples. The key variables were residence in urban/rural and coastal/inland municipalities. Relative risks of death and corresponding 95% confidence intervals by residence were evaluated by means of Poisson loglinear regression models. Results: Significantly increased mortality rates in urban compared to rural municipalities were found for several cancer causes of death. In particular, in both sexes, excesses in the order of 30-50% were observed for tobacco-related neoplasms (i.e., larynx, lung, and bladder) and cancers of the intestine, liver, brain, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, in addition to all-cancer, and all-cause mortality. In females, specific excesses were also noticed for cancer of the gallbladder, pancreas, breast and uterus (corpus and cervix). Conversely, significantly decreased mortality rates in urban with respect to rural municipalities were observed for cancer of the oral cavity and pharynx in males. Coastal location and degree of urbanization were strongly correlated, thus showing similar associations with most causes of death. However, a significant excess of cancer of the pleura in males was restricted to coastal municipalities. Conclusions: Anti-smoking campaigns, sanitation improvements, hepatitis B vaccination, and a decrease in obesity emerge as high priorities with respect to cancer control strategies in the Campania Region, particularly in overpopulated, underprivileged urban areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)460-466
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1998


  • Cancer
  • Mortality
  • Urban/rural gradient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research

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