Spatial Analysis of Skin Cancer Incidence in Iran


Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran E-mail:


Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide, including in Iran. Variations in its incidence rate among geographical areas are due to various contributing factors. Since there has been a lack of studies on this topic in our country, the present spatial analysis of skin cancer incidence in Iran in 2009 was conducted using data from the cancer registry system for the country. The reported incidences of the disease were standardized on the basis of the World Health Organization population and the direct method. Then the data were inserted into the GIS software, and finally, using the analysis of hot spots (Getis-Ord Gi), high-risk areas were drawn. Provinces that were 1.9 SD higher or lower than the national average were considered hot spots or cold spots, with significance at the level of 0.05. In 2009, a total of 9,964 cases of skin cancer occurred, 3,696 in women and 6,268 in men (standardized incidence rates of 15.8 and 22.6, respectively). The results of the study showed that in men and women, the disease demonstrated high incidence in the central provinces and desert regions. In women, Yazd Province and in men, Qom Province had significant hot spots (p =0.05). While Isfahan, Markazi, Tehran and Kurdistan provinces were expected to be hot spots, the differences from the national average were not significant at the 0.05 level. As well, the provinces of Sistan Va Baluchistan, Kerman, and Hormozgan were identified as cold or low-risk disease regions (p <0.05). The central provinces of the country due to hot weather conditions, more solar radiation, and closer vicinity to the central desert of Iran demonstrated higher incidence rates for skin cancer, so further epidemiological studies into the etiology and early detection are essential in these areas.