An area's level of poverty or wealth may affect the distribution of cancer types

May 27, 2014

A new analysis has found that certain cancers are more concentrated in areas with high poverty, while other cancers arise more often in wealthy regions. Also, areas with higher poverty had lower cancer incidence and higher mortality than areas with lower poverty. Published early online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, the study's findings demonstrate the importance of including measures of socioeconomic status in national cancer surveillance efforts.

Overall, is not related to cancer risk—cancer strikes the rich and poor alike. However, socioeconomic status does seem to influence the type of cancer a person may develop. To look closely at the issue, Francis Boscoe, PhD, of the New York State Cancer Registry and his colleagues compared people living in areas with the highest poverty with those living in areas with the lowest poverty. The investigators assigned nearly three million tumors diagnosed between 2005 and 2009 from 16 states plus Los Angeles (an area covering 42 percent of the US population) into one of four groupings based on the of the residential census tract at time of diagnosis.

For all cancer types combined, there was a negligible association between and poverty; however, 32 of 39 cancer types showed a significant association with poverty (14 positively associated and 18 negatively associated). Certain cancers—Kaposi sarcoma and cancers of the larynx, cervix, penis, and liver—were more likely in the poorest neighborhoods, while other cancers—melanoma, thyroid, other non-epithelial skin, and testis—were more likely in the wealthiest neighborhoods. "At first glance, the effects seem to cancel one another out. But the cancers more associated with have lower incidence and higher mortality, and those associated with wealth have higher incidence and lower mortality," explained Dr. Boscoe. "When it comes to cancer, the poor are more likely to die of the disease while the affluent are more likely to die with the disease."

Dr. Boscoe noted that recent gains in technology have made it much easier to link patient addresses with neighborhood characteristics, therefore making it possible to incorporate socioeconomic status into surveillance. "Our hope is that our paper will illustrate the value and necessity of doing this routinely in the future," he said.

Explore further: Triple negative breast cancer, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status

More information: "The relationship between area poverty rate and site-specific cancer incidence in the United States." Francis P. Boscoe, Christopher J. Johnson, Recinda L. Sherman, David G. Stinchcomb, Ge Lin, and Kevin A. Henry. Cancer; Published Online: May 27, 2014. DOI: 10.1002/cncr.28632

Related Stories

Triple negative breast cancer, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status

May 12, 2014
An analysis of a large nationwide dataset finds that regardless of their socioeconomic status, black women were nearly twice as likely as white women to be diagnosed with triple-negative (TN) breast cancer, a subtype that ...

Pancreatic cancer projected to become second leading cause of cancer-related death in the US by 2030

May 20, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—An analysis projects pancreatic and liver cancers to become second and third leading causes of cancer-related death in the United States by 2030, respectively, behind lung cancer, which will remain the ...

Adolescent's weight, socioeconomic status may affect cancer later in life

October 14, 2013
Overweight adolescents were twice as likely as their normal weight peers to later develop esophageal cancer in a recent study from Israel. The study, which is published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the ...

Minorities and poor have more advanced thyroid cancers when diagnosed, study shows

January 9, 2014
UCLA researchers have found that minority patients and those of lower socioeconomic status are far more likely to have advanced thyroid cancer when they are diagnosed with the disease than white patients and those in higher ...

Patients with a certain form of kidney disease may have a reduced risk of cancer

May 22, 2014
Patients with a certain form of kidney disease may have a reduced risk of cancer compared with patients with other kidney diseases, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society ...

Recommended for you

Shooting the achilles heel of nervous system cancers

July 20, 2017
Virtually all cancer treatments used today also damage normal cells, causing the toxic side effects associated with cancer treatment. A cooperative research team led by researchers at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center ...

Molecular changes with age in normal breast tissue are linked to cancer-related changes

July 20, 2017
Several known factors are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer including increasing age, being overweight after menopause, alcohol intake, and family history. However, the underlying biologic mechanisms through ...

Immune-cell numbers predict response to combination immunotherapy in melanoma

July 20, 2017
Whether a melanoma patient will better respond to a single immunotherapy drug or two in combination depends on the abundance of certain white blood cells within their tumors, according to a new study conducted by UC San Francisco ...

Discovery could lead to better results for patients undergoing radiation

July 19, 2017
More than half of cancer patients undergo radiotherapy, in which high doses of radiation are aimed at diseased tissue to kill cancer cells. But due to a phenomenon known as radiation-induced bystander effect (RIBE), in which ...

Definitive genomic study reveals alterations driving most medulloblastoma brain tumors

July 19, 2017
The most comprehensive analysis yet of medulloblastoma has identified genomic changes responsible for more than 75 percent of the brain tumors, including two new suspected cancer genes that were found exclusively in the least ...

Novel CRISPR-Cas9 screening enables discovery of new targets to aid cancer immunotherapy

July 19, 2017
A novel screening method developed by a team at Dana-Farber/Boston Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Center—using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology to test the function of thousands of tumor genes in mice—has ...

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.