The Effects of Environmental Factors on Cancer Prevalence Rates and Specific Cancer Mortality Rates in a Sample of OECD Developed Countries
Keywords: cancer, environmental, cancer prevention
The effects of environmental factors on international cancer prevalence and mortality rates are analyzed empirically. Using data from 30 OECD developed countries for the year 2002, a regression equation is estimated using ordinary least squares (OLS). This study uses environmental factors that have been suggested by other studies to have significant effects on cancer risk. A control variable for economic growth is also included. The dependent variables include cancer prevalence rates as well as mortality rates for cancers of the breast, cervix, colon, lung, and prostate. Independent variables are lagged to account for the long latency period of cancer. The independent variables can be placed into four categories: air pollutants, nutrition, lifestyle (all of which are considered to be environmental factors), and economic. The results indicate a strong association between cancer rates and total fat intake and fruit and vegetable consumption. Smoking was also found to be statistically significant for cancers of the lung, breast, and colon.