Geographical distribution of respiratory cancer in New Caledonia

Type Journal Article - Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal
Title Geographical distribution of respiratory cancer in New Caledonia
Volume 42
Issue 5
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1987
Page numbers 315-320
Publisher Taylor & Francis
All cases of primary respiratory cancers diagnosed between 1/1/78 and 12/31/81 in the French territory of New Caledonia, where nickel has been mined and smelted for more than one hundred years, were recorded. The successive addresses of each case were noted. The distribution of stays between mining zones and others was compared to an expected distribution based on censuses. A significant excess was observed in mining zones, both for the number of stays and for the number of person-years. The excess was observed for primary lung cancer only. The data seem to indicate that people with lung cancer have spent a larger part of their life in a mining zone. The reason for that phenomenon cannot, however, be assessed clearly. This could be due to the geographical environment, i.e., the presence of nickel and asbestos in the soil of some parts of the territory; the observed relationship could also be due, in part, to the effects of urbanization leading to increased tobacco consumption.