Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 631–647 | Cite as

The California Neighborhoods Data System: a new resource for examining the impact of neighborhood characteristics on cancer incidence and outcomes in populations

  • Scarlett Lin Gomez
  • Sally L. Glaser
  • Laura A. McClure
  • Sarah J. Shema
  • Melissa Kealey
  • Theresa H. M. Keegan
  • William A. Satariano
Original paper


Research on neighborhoods and health has been growing. However, studies have not investigated the association of specific neighborhood measures, including socioeconomic and built environments, with cancer incidence or outcomes. We developed the California Neighborhoods Data System (CNDS), an integrated system of small area-level measures of socioeconomic and built environments for California, which can be readily linked to individual-level geocoded records. The CNDS includes measures such as socioeconomic status, population density, racial residential segregation, ethnic enclaves, distance to hospitals, walkable destinations, and street connectivity. Linking the CNDS to geocoded cancer patient information from the California Cancer Registry, we demonstrate the variability of CNDS measures by neighborhood socioeconomic status and predominant race/ethnicity for the 7,049 California census tracts, as well as by patient race/ethnicity. The CNDS represents an efficient and cost-effective resource for cancer epidemiology and control. It expands our ability to understand the role of neighborhoods with regard to cancer incidence and outcomes. Used in conjunction with cancer registry data, these additional contextual measures enable the type of transdisciplinary, “cells-to-society” research that is now being recognized as necessary for addressing population disparities in cancer incidence and outcomes.


Neighborhood Socioeconomic environment Built environment Immigration Contextual factors GIS 



The authors thank Ms. Jane Pham, Ms. June Kristine Winters, Mr. Andrew Hertz, and Dr. Myles Cockburn for their help with aspects of the work related to this manuscript. This study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute (R03 CA117324), and by a Rapid Response Surveillance Study from the SEER program under a modification to contract N01-PC-35136 awarded to the Cancer Prevention Institute of California. The collection of cancer incidence data used in this study was supported by the California Department of Health Services as part of the statewide cancer reporting program mandated by California Health and Safety Code Section 103885; the National Cancer Institute Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program under contract N01-PC-35136 awarded to the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, contract N01-PC-35139 awarded to the University of Southern California, and contract N02-PC-15105 awarded to the Public Health Institute; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Program of Cancer Registries, under agreement #U55/CCR921930-02 awarded to the Public Health Institute. The ideas and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and endorsement by the State of California, Department of Health Services, the National Cancer Institute, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or their contractors and subcontractors is not intended nor should be inferred.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scarlett Lin Gomez
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sally L. Glaser
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laura A. McClure
    • 1
  • Sarah J. Shema
    • 1
  • Melissa Kealey
    • 3
  • Theresa H. M. Keegan
    • 1
    • 2
  • William A. Satariano
    • 3
  1. 1.Cancer Prevention Institute of CaliforniaFremontUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Research and PolicySchool of Medicine, Stanford UniversityStanfordUSA
  3. 3.Division of Community Health and Human Development and Division of Epidemiology, School of Public HealthUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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