A cluster analysis of risk factors for cancer across EU countries: Health policy recommendations for prevention

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Cancer burden in the European Union (EU) is increasing and has stimulated the European Commission (EC) to develop strategies for cancer control. A common “one size fits all” prevention policy may not be effective in reducing cancer morbidity and mortality. The goal of this paper is to show that EU member states are not homogenous in terms of their exposure to risk factors for cancer (i.e., lifestyle, socio-economic status (SES), air pollution, and vaccination). Data from a variety of sources including Eurostat, the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the European Health Interview Survey, Eurobarometer, and the European Environment Agency were merged across years 2013-2015 and used to develop a cluster analysis. This work identified four patterns of cancer prevention behaviors in the EU thus making it possible to group EU members states into four distinct country clusters including: sports-engaged countries, tobacco and pollutant exposed nations, unhealthy lifestyle countries, and a stimulant-enjoying cluster of countries. This paper finds that there is a need for closer collaboration among EU countries belonging to the same cluster in order to share best practices regarding health policy measures that might improve cancer control interventions locally and across the EU.



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International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

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