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14.03.2019 | original article | Ausgabe 9-10/2019 Open Access

Wiener klinische Wochenschrift 9-10/2019

Cancer incidence in an Austrian alpine valley 1983–2012

A descriptive study

Zeitschrift:
Wiener klinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 9-10/2019
Autoren:
Hans-Peter Hutter, Thomas Waldhoer, Katja Müller, Monika Hackl, Lisbeth Weitensfelder, Harald Heinzl
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Summary

After one of Austria’s largest environmental scandals in 2014, which involved the release of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) in the Carinthian valley Görtschitztal, concerns about increased cancer rates have arísen in the affected local population. A descriptive study was conducted to examine the cancer incidence rates between 1983 and 2012. Data from the affected area (Görtschitztal, district St. Veit) were compared to data from the neighboring area within the same district and Carinthia excluding St. Veit, considering incidence rates of liver, lung, kidney, thyroid cancer and mesothelioma. Prostate cancer and carcinoma in situ were both included and excluded from overall cancer incidents in order to prevent potential bias due to screening programs. Considering the observed variability at an overall level, no conspicuous differences in cancer incidences could be found (Carinthia: 495, St. Veit West: 408, St. Veit East: 572 cases per 100,000 person-years in 2012). For some cancer types, e. g. liver, thyroid cancer and mesothelioma, the affected region showed a higher increase in rates than the neighboring area or Carinthia overall; however, these increased rates date back to a time prior to the HCB exposure, suggesting other carcinogenic influences, such as asbestos exposure from antecedent years.
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