Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Luginaah, Isaac


Breast cancer is the leading cancer among women in Canada and the incidence rate continues to increase despite improved screening programs and advanced cancer treatments. Some studies have linked breast cancer with risk factors such as genetics, the age of first menstruation, parity, and environmental exposures. This study investigated the spatial distribution of breast cancer cases between 2003 and 2013 in Middlesex County using geospatial techniques. Point data were analyzed with SaTScan and aggregated data were observed at two geographical units, census sub-divisions and dissemination areas using Moran’s Index to detect clusters. Both analyses showed consistency in the cluster locations mostly in the western and eastern parts of the county. Age-adjusted breast cancer rates were then analyzed using multivariate and principal component analysis to explore potential links to socioeconomic factors obtained from the Canadian Census. Average income, employment rate, and occupations related to agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting were significantly associated with increased breast cancer risk in the area. The findings provide pointers for local level policy related to breast cancer prevention and management in Middlesex County and beyond.