High Incidence of Breast Cancer in Light-Polluted Areas with Spatial Effects in Korea

  • Kim, Yun Jeong (Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University) ;
  • Park, Man Sik (Department of Statistics, College of Natural Sciences, Sungshin Women's University) ;
  • Lee, Eunil (Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University) ;
  • Choi, Jae Wook (Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Korea University)
  • Published : 2016.02.05


We have reported a high prevalence of breast cancer in light-polluted areas in Korea. However, it is necessary to analyze the spatial effects of light polluted areas on breast cancer because light pollution levels are correlated with region proximity to central urbanized areas in studied cities. In this study, we applied a spatial regression method (an intrinsic conditional autoregressive [iCAR] model) to analyze the relationship between the incidence of breast cancer and artificial light at night (ALAN) levels in 25 regions including central city, urbanized, and rural areas. By Poisson regression analysis, there was a significant correlation between ALAN, alcohol consumption rates, and the incidence of breast cancer. We also found significant spatial effects between ALAN and the incidence of breast cancer, with an increase in the deviance information criterion (DIC) from 374.3 to 348.6 and an increase in $R^2$ from 0.574 to 0.667. Therefore, spatial analysis (an iCAR model) is more appropriate for assessing ALAN effects on breast cancer. To our knowledge, this study is the first to show spatial effects of light pollution on breast cancer, despite the limitations of an ecological study. We suggest that a decrease in ALAN could reduce breast cancer more than expected because of spatial effects.


Supported by : Korean Environmental Industry and Technology Institute, Korea Meteorological Administration


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