Research Paper

Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp 383-388

First online:

Childhood leukemia in metropolitan regions in the United States: a possible relation to population density?

  • Colin R. MuirheadAffiliated withNational Radiological Protection Board

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Following recent research in Great Britain, the geographic incidence of leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among White children in three metropolitan regions of the United States (San Francisco-Oakland, CA; Detroit, MI; and Atlanta, GA) during 1978–82 has been analyzed using census tract-specific data. There was no evidence of a general tendency for cases to cluster geographically, in contrast to results from Britain. Further, rates did not vary with median income or education levls for census tracts. However, there was a statistically significant increasing trend in incidence rates with increasing population density: relative risk for highest relative to lowest category=1.4 (95% percent confidence interval [CI]=1.1–2.0) for White population density, and 1.4 (CI=1.0–2.0) for total population density. The interpretation of these findings is unclear and further investigation is required. It is possible that population density is acting as a surrogate for some virus-related factor.

Key works

Childhood leukemia census population density sociodemographic variables United States