Neighborhood poverty and health insurance figure in late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer

March 5, 2013

Home may be where the heart is, but where you live could affect your health.

"Regardless of , women who live in high poverty areas or are uninsured are at greatest risk of being diagnosed with at a later stage," said lead author Kevin Henry, Department of Geography, University of Utah.

A team of scientists was assembled by the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) to examine breast cancer stage at diagnosis among 161,619 women aged 40 years and older diagnosed in ten participating US states. The team's findings are reported in the current issue of the journal Health & Place. Other studies have examined these differences, but this is one of the largest studies completed that looked at geographic predictors of late-stage breast cancer including travel time and geographic access to mammography, Henry said. The team also found that coverage and census tract poverty presented more substantial risks for late-stage diagnosis of breast cancer than geographic access.

"Based on our findings, poverty and health insurance are showing themselves to be important predictors of late stage breast cancer," said Henry, adding the study provided little evidence that geographic access measures were associated with stage at diagnosis. "While geographic barriers are an important concern when considering gaps in mammography screening and breast at diagnosis, we need to acknowledge that there are a complex variety of other factors that can affect stage at ."

Cancer survival is poorest when the disease is found at its latest stages, which is why early detection is a critical component to improving survival and quality of life following treatment after breast cancer. "We do not currently have the tools to prevent breast cancer. But these results inform practical public policy—focus interventions on these high risk women with the aim of reducing existing disparities in breast cancer survival," said co-author Recinda Sherman, Department of Epidemiology, University of Miami Miller Medical School.

"Quality cancer data is vital in the fight against cancer," said NAACCR's executive director Betsy Kohler. "By harnessing cancer registry data, this work has truly underscored the need for targeted interventions among uninsured women and those living in low poverty census tracts regardless of geographic location." NAACCR obtained financial support for this study from Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Explore further: Women in less affluent areas of Chicago less likely to reside near mammography facility

Related Stories

Women in less affluent areas of Chicago less likely to reside near mammography facility

October 29, 2012
Women in socioeconomically disadvantaged and less affluent areas of Chicago were less likely to live near a mammography facility with various aspects of care compared with women in less socioeconomically disadvantaged and ...

Age affects risk of being diagnosed with cancer at advanced stage

March 2, 2012
Older women with breast cancer face a higher risk of being diagnosed with the disease at a late stage, while the risk of an advanced stage diagnosis of lung cancer decreases with age, a new study shows today.

Lack of insurance linked to advanced stage cervical cancer

July 19, 2012
A large national sample of women diagnosed with cervical cancer between 2000 and 2007 finds lack of insurance was second only to age as the strongest predictor of late stage at diagnosis, a gap the authors say is likely attributable ...

Early breast cancer diagnosis, survival rates low in rural India

February 4, 2013
Women in developed countries survive roughly 10 years longer after a breast cancer diagnosis compared to women in poor-to-middle-income countries, a new University of Michigan study suggests.

Recommended for you

Study may explain failure of retinoic acid trials against breast cancer

July 25, 2017
Estrogen-positive breast cancers are often treated with anti-estrogen therapies. But about half of these cancers contain a subpopulation of cells marked by the protein cytokeratin 5 (CK5), which resists treatment—and breast ...

Physical activity could combat fatigue, cognitive decline in cancer survivors

July 25, 2017
A new study indicates that cancer patients and survivors have a ready weapon against fatigue and "chemo brain": a brisk walk.

Breaking the genetic resistance of lung cancer and melanoma

July 25, 2017
Researchers from Monash University and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC, New York) have discovered why some cancers – particularly lung cancer and melanoma – are able to quickly develop deadly resistance ...

New therapeutic approach for difficult-to-treat subtype of ovarian cancer identified

July 24, 2017
A potential new therapeutic strategy for a difficult-to-treat form of ovarian cancer has been discovered by Wistar scientists. The findings were published online in Nature Cell Biology.

Immune cells the missing ingredient in new bladder cancer treatment

July 24, 2017
New research offers a possible explanation for why a new type of cancer treatment hasn't been working as expected against bladder cancer.

Anti-cancer chemotherapeutic agent inhibits glioblastoma growth and radiation resistance

July 24, 2017
Glioblastoma is a primary brain tumor with dismal survival rates, even after treatment with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. A small subpopulation of tumor cells—glioma stem cells—is responsible for glioblastoma's ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.