Spatial Analysis of Breast Cancer Incidence in Iran


Health Promotion Research Center, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Zahedan University of Medical Sciences, Zahedan, Iran E-mail:


Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in females (27% of the total) and the main cause of death (16%) due to cancer in women in developed and developing countries. Variations in its incidence rate among geographical areas are due to various contributing factors. Since there have been a lack of studies on this topic in our country, the present spatial analysis of breast cancer incidence in Iran in 2009 was conducted using data from the national cancer registry system. The reported incidences of the disease were standardized according to the World Health Organization population and the direct method. Then data was inserted into the GIS software and finally, using the Hot Spot Analysis (Geties-Ord Gi), high-risk areas were drawn. Provinces with incidences 1.96 SD higher or lower than the national average were considered as hot spots or cold spots, at the significance level of 0.05%. In 2009, a total of 7,582 cases of BC occurred in Iran. The annual incidence was 33.2 per hundred thousand people. Our study showed that the highest incidence of BC in women occurred in the central provinces of the country, Tehran, Isfahan, Yazd, Markazi and Fars. The results of hot spots analysis showed that the distribution of high-risk BC was focused in central parts of Iran, especially Isfahan province (p <0.01). The other provinces were not significantly different from the national average. The higher incidence in central provinces may be due to greater exposure to carcinogens in urban areas, a Western lifestyle and high prevalence of other risk factors. Further epidemiological studies about the etiology and early detection of BC are essential.