Geographic analysis of public requests for cancer cluster investigations and using it as an indicator of health disparity in the U.S
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Clusters of non-communicable diseases have become an important world-wide public health issue, especially cancer clusters. In the U.S, concerned individuals can contact state or local health agencies to report a suspected cancer cluster (SCC) for various reasons including perceived hazards. SCC investigation request, together with media exposure, can be a powerful alternative way to make voice heard. However, only less than one quarter of the requests get further investigation. This study emphasizes on the utilization of Geographical Information Science (GIScience) techniques and statistical methods to identify and understand disparities in those public concerned areas. The results of Montana reveal that cancer incidence rates in SCC areas tend to be lower than the rest; less disadvantaged population reside in SCC areas; and SCC areas associated with more environmental contamination.