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International Journal of Scientific Research in Knowledge, 2(10), pp.

463-469, 2014
Available online at http://www.ijsrpub.com/ijsrk
ISSN: 2322-4541; 2014; Author(s) retain the copyright of this article
http://dx.doi.org/10.12983/ijsrk-2014-p0463-0469


463
Short Communications

Relation of Women Breast Cancer with Arsenic Spatial Dispersion (Case Study:
Isfahan Province, Iran)

Masoumeh Rashidi
1
*, Mohammad Hossein Rameshat
2


1
Department of Geographic Sciences and Planning, University of Isfahan, Iran and Iranian Space research center, Tehran, Iran
2
Department of Geographic Sciences and Planning, University of Isfahan, Iran
*Corresponding Author: masoumeh.rashidi@yahoo.com

Received 27 July 2014; Accepted 16 September 2014

Abstract. The present study sets out to investigate the correlation between breast cancer and the concentration of Arsenic in
Isfahan Province, Iran. All cases of breast cancer recorded between 2007 and 2009 were included. In order to calculate the
Arsenic concentrations associated with the poll frequency of breast cancer, the concentrations of Arsenic in province (case
study) were examined. In this research, we applied target detection algorithms on MODIS images to detect Arsenic. In the next
step, decision fusion method was used to combine the results. In this combination, each pixel is contaminated if 5 of 6
algorithms detect it as contaminated and the software Geographic Information System (GIS) was used to analyze the data;
breast cancer spatial distribution was mapped and the distribution of Arsenic in the province was determined. The results
indicated a significantly positive correlation between breast cancer and the distribution of Arsenic. The findings of the current
study underscore not only the importance of preventing exposure to Arsenic but also the importance of controlling Arsenic-
producing industries.

Keywords: Relation, Breast Cancer, Arsenic, Spatial distribution, Iran, Isfahan.

1. INTRODUCTION

The global incidence of malignant diseases has
significantly increased during the last decades in
parallel with the rapid industrialization of most
countries. In Iran, as the third cause of death and the
second prevalent chronic diseases, cancers pose a
significant health burden. Malignancies are
considered primarily as environmental diseases with
9095% of cases attributed to environmental factors
and 510% to genetic factors. Common environmental
factors that are attributable to cancer death include
tobacco use (2530%), dietary habits and obesity
(3035%), infections (1520%), radiation (ionizing
and nonionizing, up to 10%), tensions, and
environmental pollutants (Anand, 2008).
Nowadays, one of the most immediate concerns in
the Iranian Healthcare System is the rapid spread of
such malignant diseases as cancer. It is estimated that
one third of the cases of malignant diseases is
preventable and a third is contingent on early
diagnosis. Advances in medicine and cancer therapy
have led into an increase in long-term survival for
patients with a wide range of invasive diseases,
though. Despite recent attention, environmental
pollution is still one of the main reasons causing
malignant diseases. On a more global level, nearly one
million ton of Arsenic is added to our environment
annually (Chakraborty, 1987; Selinus et al., 2007).
With more than 1650 industrial manufactories
(Bauman, 1999) Isfahan province is a region prone to
industrial pollutants. The area is also considered as
one of Irans major agricultural poles and the frequent
use of chemical fertilizers for agricultural purposes
adds a rather high amount of Arsenic to the soil
annually. Arsenic is absorbed by plants and thus finds
its way into our daily diet. The most serious problem
with the Arsenic element in the body is that it cannot
be metabolized. In point of fact, Arsenic cannot be
disposed of by the body. This causes some malignant
diseases such as cancer (Fierz, 1965).
Isfahan province, spreading across an area of about
107,045 square kilometers, equivalent to 6.3% of the
total area of Iran, is located between 30 degrees 43
minutes and 34 degrees 27 minutes north latitude and
49 degrees 38 minutes and 55 degrees 32 minutes east
of the Greenwich meridian (Figure1). The province is
1550 meters above the sea level altitude. The current
study was an attempt to map the distribution of
Arsenic and the spatial distribution of the breast
cancer in the province.
Rashidi and Rameshat
Relation of Women Breast Cancer with Arsenic Spatial Dispersion (Case Study: Isfahan Province, Iran)
464



Fig. 1: Location of the study area.

2. MATERIALS AND METHODS

In this study, the first challenge was to collect some
relevant information. In this connection, the authors
managed to gain access to data concerning breast
cancer in Isfahan province. The data, which had been
collected by Isfahan Province Health Centre, provided
information from 2007-2009. Besides, Map of Arsenic
Distribution, which had been drawn by the remote
sensing technique, and Arsenic Concentration
Information, which had been collected by Isfahan
Agriculture Jihad Organization, were used. Using GIS
(Geographic Information System), the researchers
drew the map of the spatial distribution of breast
cancer in the province and compared. Remote Sensing
is a useful environmental monitoring tool.
We used this technique to map spatial variability of
different components of Arsenic. Using hyper-spectral
images is the most common method to detect soil
contamination. Different hyper-spectral sensors
collect data from surface such as Hyperion and Aviris.
Those sensors collect data with 20 to 100 meter
special resolution and in 50 to 200 spectrums. There
are indirect and direct methods for using hyper-
spectral images. In the indirect methods one measures
vegetation stress caused by heavy metal soil
contamination. In direct methods, target detection
algorithms are used to detect a selected material on
the basis of its unique spectral signature. In this
research, we applied target detection algorithms on
MODIS images to detect Arsenic. MODIS is a sensor
placed on the Terra satellite which collects data in 35
spectral bands with 250 to 1000 meter special
resolutions. We implemented the following methods
to the images: constrained Energy Minimization
(CEM), Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM), Adaptive
Coherence Estimator (ACE), Match Filter (MF),
Spectral Similarity Mapper (SSM) and Normalized
Euclidean Distance (NED) (Figure 2). In the next step,
decision fusion method was used to combine the
results. In this combination, each pixel is
contaminated if 5 of 6 algorithms detect it as
contaminated (Figure 3).

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS

The population under investigation included 2729
medical records for patients suffering from breast
cancer. Because of its rather high number patients
with breast cancer, the period studied (2007-2009) is
sufficiently reliable (see Figure 5 below).
The average Arsenic concentration in the present
study was 297 mg/kg consisting of 140 mg/kg in
urban and industrial areas, 69 mg/kg in non-
agricultural areas and 88 mg/kg in agricultural areas
(see Figure 4).


International Journal of Scientific Research in Knowledge, 2(10), pp. 463-469, 2014
465

Fig. 2: Show spectral signature of Arsenic targets


Fig. 3: Target Detection Results


Rashidi and Rameshat
Relation of Women Breast Cancer with Arsenic Spatial Dispersion (Case Study: Isfahan Province, Iran)
466

Fig. 4: Arsenic element distribution maps in Isfahan Province


Fig. 5: Spatial distribution of Breast cancer in Isfahan Province (Ratio to population)

The map for the distribution of breast cancer is
presented in Figure 5. As the figure shows, the cities
of Isfahan, Najaf Abad, Kashan, Naeein, Ardestan and
Natanz have hosted the highest number of breast
cancer. This rate positively correlates with the
distribution of Arsenic in the province. This finding
may suggest that soil contamination by Arsenic, and
possibly other industrial metals, may contribute in the
incidence of cancers. We should acknowledge that in
addition to the possible association of soil Arsenic
with malignancies, the higher prevalence of diagnosed
cancers might have been a result of better medical
facilities. It is estimated that reducing the
concentrations of environmental arsenic can
significantly decrease the cancer rate (Marchwinska,
2010). Our findings on the probable association of
arsenic exposure with breast cancer are consistent
with some previous studies In addition to ecological
studies, such association has also been documented in
animal models (Schrauzer, 2008).

International Journal of Scientific Research in Knowledge, 2(10), pp. 463-469, 2014
467
4. CONCLUSION

Arsenic is a bluish-white metallic element, which is
extremely toxic (Dabiry, 2007). Arsenic is one of the
most detrimental elements (Meade, 2007). Impaired
synthesis of haemoglobin and anaemia, malignant
diseases, hypertension, breast damage, miscarriages
and premature infants, nervous system disorders, brain
damage, male infertility, loss of learning and
behavioural disorders in children are only some of the
negative effects of high concentrations of Arsenic.
Arsenic exists naturally in the environment, but in
most cases the increase in quantity is the result of
human activities (Falk, 2007). The spatial distribution
of breast cancer in Isfahan province delineated above
revealed a positive correlation between the amount of
Arsenic and the high frequency of breast cancer.
Arsenic exists in industrial pollutants, fertilizers and
other agricultural items. Based on international
standards, the permitted amount of Arsenic in soil is
20 mg/kg (Khoshhal, 2001). The average
concentration of Arsenic in the three consecutive
years under investigation in Isfahan was above the
limit. Prevention through community intervention is
possible by identifying harmful elements in the
environment. The best strategy is prevention from
exposure. Reducing the number of Arsenic-producing
industries can also be helpful. In this way,
collaboration between geographical and medical
sciences, health workers, legislators and the
community is definitely needed. To solve the global
problem, soil resources should be evaluated and tested
periodically. In the case of toxic poisoning of soil,
preventive measures should be taken such as using
filters to prevent the entry of sewage into rivers
(Pourrut, 2001), freshwater resources, and the soil.
Health warnings should be given to people at risk
(Yavar, 2001). Cultivation of plants that absorb toxic
elements has to be suspended (Bauman By analyzing
the elements and patterns, it is possible to determine
and track the spatial distribution of various diseases
(Rashidi, 2012). Although Western lifestyle, obesity,
smoking, and epidemiologic transition have crucial
roles in the development of noncommunicable
diseases, including cancers, they cannot solely explain
the worldwide rapid increase in the incidence of
cancers. Environmental pollution, including soil
contamination by toxic metals during industrialization
may be an important contributing factor. In 1980,
Barrett depicted the spatial distribution as the possible
etiology of disease, and proposed the importance of
medical geography on human health. He suggested for
the first time that a geographic area represents the
complex physical, biological, and cultural processes.
By analyzing the elements and patterns, it is possible
to determine and track the spatial distribution of
various diseases.

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International Journal of Scientific Research in Knowledge, 2(10), pp. 463-469, 2014
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Masoumeh Rashidi is a Ph.D candidate in Geomorphology at University Isfahan Iran. B.S.c degree
in Geomorphology in 2000 to 2004 and M.Sc. degrees in Geomorphology in 2008 and 2010, and
To date, she has published several scientific articles related to environmental pollution and Diseases
Relationship with pollution. She is interested in the research field of GIS & RS and medical
geography.











Dr Mohammad Hossein Rameshat is professor in Geomorphology at University Isfahan Iran. He
was university president in 8 years. He received the B.A. degree in Geomorphology Science from
University of Isfahan in 1974 to 1978 and M.A. degrees in Geomorphology Science from
University of Shahid Beheshti in 1983 to 1985 and the PhD degree in Geomorphology from
University of Tarbiat Modarres in 1992. He is interested in the research field of GIS and RS,
Geomorphology and medical geography.