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Cancer mortality rates and spillover effects among different areas: A case study in Campania (southern Italy)

Massimiliano Agovino, Maria Carmela Aprile, Antonio Garofalo and Angela Mariani

Social Science & Medicine, 2018, vol. 204, issue C, 67-83

Abstract: The present study analyses the spatial distribution of cancer mortality rates in Campania (an Italian region with the highest population density), in which residents in several areas are exposed to major environmental health hazards. The paper has the methodological aims of verifying the existence, or otherwise, of a spatial correlation between mortality from different types of cancer and the occurrence of some specific area characteristics, using both Bayesian statistics and spatial econometrics. We show that the use of the Spatial Empirical Bayes Smoothed Rate, instead of the more commonly used Raw Rate, allows a more comprehensive analysis of the mortality rate, highlighting the existence of different cluster sizes throughout the region, according to the type of cancer mortality rate analysed. By using a Spatial Durbin model we verify that cancer mortality rates are related to the environmental characteristics of specific areas with spatial spillover effects. Our results validate the hypothesis that living along the coast by Mt Vesuvius and, to a lesser extent, along the Domitio-Flegreo coast NW of Naples and in more urbanised municipalities, increases the risk of dying of cancer. By contrast, living in less urbanised municipalities, with the presence of natural and historical attractions, has a positive effect on the residents’ health, reducing their risk of disease. In both cases significant spillover effects (negative and positive) are found in municipalities close to the areas in question. Despite a number of reasonable limitations, our findings may provide useful information support for policy makers to foster knowledge, awareness and informed participation of citizens.

Keywords: Spatial analysis; Cancer mortality rates; Italy; Campania (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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