Descriptive epidemiology of primary cancer of the brain, cranial nerves, and cranial meninges in New Zealand, 1948-88

Cancer Causes Control. 1993 Nov;4(6):529-38. doi: 10.1007/BF00052428.

Abstract

We used New Zealand data on occurrence of different types of brain cancer to investigate: (i) a possible secular increase which has been seen worldwide and has generated considerable debate; (ii) possibly higher rates among Maori; and (iii) possibly higher risks related to social class and occupation. Data from the NZ Cancer Registry on the 5,684 brain cancers diagnosed among NZ residents from 1948-88 were used to study the pattern of occurrence by gender, age, race, calendar year, social class, occupation, and histology. Age-standardized brain-cancer incidence rates per 100,000 more than doubled over the 41-year period (from 2.9 to 6.9 in males and from 2.1 to 5.1 in females). A strong trend of increasing incidence with increasing social class is seen in males (Ptrend = 0.01). Among Maori, the proportion of all brain cancer that is medulloblastoma is four times that among non-Maori, and the proportion of all brain cancers that lack histologic confirmation is about 40 percent higher. Elevated risks are seen among: dairy farmers (odds ratio [OR] = 3.4, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] = 1.9-6.0); sheep handlers (OR = 2.7, CI = 1.4-5.3); livestock workers (OR = 3.8, CI = 1.7-8.4); and farm managers (OR = 3.2, CI = 1.4-7.2); as well as among electrical engineers (OR = 8.2, CI = 20-34.7); electricians (OR = 4.6, CI = 1.7-12.2); and other electrical workers. Brain cancer rates in NZ have increased steadily since 1948, but this increase has leveled off in the most recent five-year period. Although brain cancer rates are likely to be underestimated among the Maori, an excess of medulloblastoma is evident in this group.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Brain Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Cranial Nerve Neoplasms / pathology
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Medulloblastoma / epidemiology
  • Medulloblastoma / ethnology
  • Medulloblastoma / pathology
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / ethnology
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Occupations
  • Odds Ratio
  • Polynesia / ethnology
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class