GET STARTED
1
Request Info
2
Visit
3
Apply
GET STARTED
1
Request Info
2
Visit
3
Apply

Public Health Researchers to Begin Project on Neighborhood Greenness and Cancer Risk

Researchers have found that neighborhood greenness may lead to better health, such as increasing opportunities for physical activity, social interaction, stress relief, reduced air pollution and/or changes to the respiratory microbiome. Miller School of Medicine studies have also previously found that it is also a novel environmental protective factor for chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and diabetes.

Scott Brown, Ph.D., research associate professor of public health, and Jose Szapocznik, Ph.D., professor of public health, who have co-authored various of those studies, will now investigate the relationship of block-level greenness to cancer diagnosis, including for breast, colorectal, endometrial, lung, and prostate cancers. The project is sponsored by the National Cancer Institute-Designated Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“The goals of the project are essentially to look at how greenness at the block level is related to cancer in Medicare beneficiaries living in Miami-Dade County. Previously, we have published a few studies linking greenness to different chronic conditions, but we have not yet examined cancer in our analysis,” Dr. Brown said.  

The research team will investigate the relationship of block-level greenness to cancer diagnoses by using a population-based sample of 250,000 Medicare beneficiaries. For this pilot study, they will evaluate the greenness to cancer relationship using block-level greenness from high-resolution satellite imagery, in relation to cancer diagnoses in the sample. They will also use the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ chronic algorithms for information on cancer diagnoses.

Researchers will assess the relationship between block-level greenness and odds of cancer and whether the relationship of greenness to cancer varies by neighborhood income level. The main research question will focus on determining if the greenness to cancer relationship varies by a specific cancer diagnosis. They will also examine if race/ethnicity, age and gender are potential facilitators of the relationship between greenness and cancer.

If the results of the study show a relationship, it can help implement interventions, such as tree-planting at the block level, as well as increased park access to reduce the risk for cancer at the population level, as well as for those who live in lower-income neighborhoods.

Written by Amanda Torres
Published on October 2, 2019