Investigating local relationships between trace elements in soils and cancer data

Jennifer M. McKinley, Ulrich Ofterdinger, Michael Young, Amy Barsby, Anna Gavin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
461 Downloads (Pure)


Medical geology research has recognised a number of potentially toxic elements (PTEs), such as arsenic, cobalt, chromium, copper, nickel, lead, vanadium, uranium and zinc, known to influence human disease by their respective deficiency or toxicity. As the impact of infectious diseases has decreased and the population ages, so cancer has become the most common cause of death in developed countries including Northern Ireland. This research explores the relationship between environmental exposure to potentially toxic elements in soil and cancer disease data across Northern Ireland. The incidence of twelve different cancer types (lung, stomach, leukaemia, oesophagus, colorectal, bladder, kidney, breast, mesothelioma, melanoma and non melanoma(NM) both basal and squamous, were examined in the form of twenty-five coded datasets comprising aggregates over the 12 year period from 1993 to 2006. A local modelling technique,geographically weighted regression (GWR) is usedto explore the relationship between environmental exposure and cancer disease data. The results show comparisons of the geographical incidence of certain cancers (stomach and NM squamous skin cancer) in relation to concentrations of certain PTEs (arsenic levels in soils and radon were identified). Findings from the research have implications for regional human health risk assessments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-41
Number of pages17
JournalSpatial Statistics
Early online date31 May 2013
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Epidemiology
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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