Projection of incidence rates to a larger population using ecologic variables



There is wide acceptance of direct standardization of vital rates to adjust for differing age distributions according to the representation within age categories of some referent population. One can use a similar process to standardize, and subsequently project vital rates with respect to continuous, or ratio scale ecologic variables. We obtained from the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) programme, a 10 per cent subset of the total U.S. population, country-level breast cancer incidence during 1987-1989 for white women aged 50 and over. We applied regression coefficients that relate ecologic factors to SEER incidence to the full national complement of county-level information to produce an age and ecologic factor adjusted rate that may be more representative of the U.S. than the simple age-adjusted SEER incidence. We conducted a validation study using breast cancer mortality data available for the entire U.S. and which supports the appropriateness of this method for projecting rates.