The aim of the present study was to estimate total cancer mortality trends from 1982 to 2011 in a "low rate of land use" province of the Latium region (Rieti, central Italy) characterized by a low degree of urbanization, a high prevalence of elderly, and a low number of births. Mortality data of the studied period, provided by the Italian National Institute of Statistics, were used for calculating standardized cancer mortality rates. Trends in mortality were analyzed using Joinpoint regression analysis. Results showed that total standardized cancer mortality rates decreased in the monitored area over the study period. A comparison with other provinces of the same region evidenced that the studied province presented the lowest cancer mortality. The three systems/apparatuses affected by cancer that mainly influenced cancer mortality in the monitored province were the trachea-bronchus-lung, colorectal-anus, and stomach. These findings could be attributed to the implement of preventive initiatives performed in the early 2000s, to healthier environmental scenario, and to lower levels of carcinogenic pollutants in air, water, and soil matrices. Thus, our results indicate that the studied area could be considered a "healthy" benchmark for studies in oncological diseases.
Keywords: Italy; cancer; epidemiological investigation; mortality.