Maps, Data & Profiles

Observed and Expected Female and Male Cases of Lung and Bronchus Cancer and Canopy Cover in Syracuse, NY

Posted: September 13, 2013    /   Created: May 24, 2013

The data were retrieved from the New York State Department of Health website, but the data originate from the New York State Cancer Registry; website: These data show lung and bronchus cancer cases by ZIP code between 2005 and 2009. The original purpose of the NYS Cancer Registry, under the New York State Public Health Law, is to audit hospitals, laboratories and other healthcare providers to make sure that necessary reports are made. The data are collected by physicians, dentists, laboratories, and other healthcare providers. These sources must notify the NYSDOH of every case of cancer or other malignant disease. Through this registry, the NYSDOH collects, processes and reports information about New Yorkers diagnosed with cancer. Like asthma rates, there are some limitations with lung and bronchus cancer data. Cancer is more common in elderly people, so the age of the people who live in a ZIP Code is an important factor. The expected number of cases is the number of people in a given ZIP code that would be expected to develop cancer within a five-year period if the ZIP code had the same incidence rate of cancer as the entire state. The mathematics used to calculate the expected number of cases takes into account age and population size by using age adjustment. Moreover, NYSDOH must keep information about individuals with cancer confidential to protect their privacy, so data are aggregated to ZIP code. The NYSDOH recognizes that the data cannot conclusively show the environmental causes of cancer, considering most cancers appear five to forty years after exposure to a cancer causing substance. Lastly, many people move throughout their lifetime making it difficult to link exposures to where a person lives. We chose lung and bronchus cancer because, according to the NYSDOH, studies have shown that urban air pollution may cause a higher risk for lung cancer, but further studies need to be done in order to conclusively say that urban air quality is a significant factor. For this reason, the data show where tree-planting efforts may have the greatest impact on lung and bronchus cancer. Overall, asthma and lung and bronchus cancer are complex diseases. Therefore, we cannot simply correlate tree cover with lower incidence or prevalence of each disease outcome, but we found interesting geographic patterns.


The maps show both observed and expected cases of lung and bronchus cancer. The expected cases are the five-year projections. Both female and male cases of lung and bronchus cancer are expected to decrease in the next five years, based on current rates. Overall, the northern part of Syracuse and the Southside/Brighton/North and South Valley neighborhoods have the highest number of lung and bronchus cancer cases. As stated earlier, urban air pollution may cause a higher risk for lung cancer (NYSDOH, 2012), so focusing tree planting efforts in these neighborhoods could
potentially have an impact on the number of cases of lung and bronchus cancer.

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