Cancer Incidence in Volcanic Areas: A Systematic Review

Document Type : Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


1 Departement of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Ahmad Dahlan University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

2 Department of Pharmacotheraphy, Faculty of Medicine, Universitas Palangka Raya, Jekan Raya, Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

3 Departement of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Ahmad Dahlan University, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.


Background: There are more than 1,000 active volcanoes worldwide with inhabitants within 100 km of them. Volcanoes spill several toxic metals and spew pollution through gasses, causing soil and water contamination. The dangerously active volcanoes place the nearby population at risk for volcanic hazards. This review aimed to determine whether people living in these volcanic areas have higher risk of cancer and more attention should be given to this danger. Methods: A systematic literature search was conducted of PUBMED, Science Direct, SCOPUS, Proquest, and Google Scholar, and from citation searching. We assessed the quality of the studies and extracted the incidence rate of cancer in the volcanic areas compared to non-volcanic areas. Results: The search identified 360 articles, with 11 studies meeting our selection criteria. The results reported the incidence of cancer in children was predominantly in volcanic areas with girls suffering as much as 1.4 per 100,000 per year. The highest cancer age standardized incidence rates for females, males, and overall calculation in volcanic areas were reported as 31.7/100,000/year in Catania, 10.34/100,000/year in Furnas, and 38.3/100,000/year in Catania-Messina-Enna for thyroid cancer. We observed the increasing incidence of carcinoma for some types of cancer in volcanic areas. Conclusion: Cancer incidence in volcanic areas was higher than non-volcanic areas and it is caused by multifactorial conditions. The concentrations of hazardous elements of volcanic products vary among volcanoes and are related to the harmful risk for the inhabitants. The negative effects of volcanic products to human health should be given more consideration. 


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