USE OF GIS IN ANALYZING ENVIRONMENTAL CANCER RISKS AS A FUNCTION of GEOGRAPHIC SCALE

In general, the goal of this research project is to examine the geographic variation in the relationship of cancer risk and arsenic. The exposure of arsenic could possibly show the reason of the development of bladder, lung, kidney, and skin cancers in some respects. Meanwhile, arsenic concentrations show a variation between geographic locations. The state of Arizona is divided into several counties. Each county covers large geographic spaces with uneven distributions of population. In order to represent the range of actual county experiences, we need to do further research on the geographic variation by using GIS software.

Geographic information systems (GIS) is mapping software that links information about where things are with information about what things are like.  It is practical to use GIS technology linking multiple sources of descriptive attribute information for various geographic levels with health outcome data. Mapping of georeferenced health statistics has led to insights concerning diverse health-environment-behavior interactions. Insights can be derived by identification of clusters of cancer incidences followed by comparison with cluster locations in the mapped distribution of arsenic.

During the research, I will link to detect cumulative, aggregate, and cumulative-aggregate arsenic exposures, as potential doses, with the incidence of specific cancers. A number of geographically delineated data sets are available pertaining to Arizona, to be used for exploration purposes.  These can be obtained from the Arizona Cancer Registry, population-based case-control study and multimedia multipathway survey. Reviewing those data will help determining the homogeneity of the associations across various geographic scales.

I will learn about the GIS software, and learn about spatial statistics this semester. I hope to apply my knowledge of programming and mathematical analysis to this research, gaining experiences in applied mathematics research.