This ecologic study assessed disparities between environmental risk factors and cancers in two Nigerian cities. Environmental data were obtained for Port Harcourt (highly industrialized) and Ibadan(less industrialized) cities respectively. Ten- year cancer records were also obtained from the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH), Port Harcourt and the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, chi square and t-test statistics at 5% level of significance. Environmental risk factors particularly levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in air was higher in Port Harcourt than Ibadan locality (p <0.05). Both skin and lung cancers were higher in Port Harcourt area (19.0 and 3.7%, respectively) than Ibadan (10.4 and 3.2%, respectively) for the combined group (p < 0.001). Therefore, people living in highly industrialized communities with increased environmental risk factors are likely to have a higher probability to develop cancers. In-depth studies are required to establish empirical links between the identified environmental risk factors and the prevalence of cancers.
Key words: Environmental quality, industrialized communities, cancer.
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