The impact of cancer on the population of Salvador-Bahia, Brazil

Anita Schnitman, The University of Texas School of Public Health


The impact of cancer on the population of Salvador-Bahia, Brazil was studied using mortality data available from the Brazilian National Bureau of Vital Statistics. Average annual site, age, and gender specific and adjusted cancer mortality rates were determined for the years 1977-83 and contrasted with United States cancer mortality rates for the year of 1977. The accuracy of the cancer mortality rates generated by this research was determined by comparing the underlying causes of death as coded on death certificates to pathology reports and to hospital diagnosis of a sample of 966 deaths occurring in Salvador during the year of 1983. To further explore the information available on the death certificate, a population based decedent case control study was used to determine the relationship between type of occupation (proxy for exposure) and mortality by cancer sites known to be occupationally related. The rates in Salvador for cancer of the stomach, oral cavity, and biliary passages are, on average, two fold higher than the U.S. rates. The death certificate was found to be accurate for 65 percent of the 485 cancer deaths studied. Thirty five histologically confirmed cancer deaths were found in a random sample of 481 deaths from other causes. This means that, approximately 700 more deaths may be lost among the remainder 10,073 death certificates stating a cause other than cancer. In addition, despite the known limitations of decedent case-control studies, cancers of the oral cavity OR = 2.44, CI = 1.17-5.09, stomach OR = 2.31, CI = 1.18-4.52, liver OR = 4.06, CI = 1.27-12.99, bladder OR = 6.77, CI = 1.5-30.67, and lymphoma OR = 2.55, CI = 1.04-6.25 had elevated point estimates, for different age strata indicating an association between these cancers and occupations that led to exposure to petroleum and its derivates.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Schnitman, Anita, "The impact of cancer on the population of Salvador-Bahia, Brazil" (1987). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI8809918.