As segregation rises in communities, so do cancer death rates

As segregation rises in communities, so do cancer death rates

Whether you survive a bout with cancer may depend, in part, on where you live.

Researchers at the American Cancer Society and Clemson University in South Carolina found a 20% higher death rate for all in the communities with the most racial and economic segregation.

For , the death rate was 50% higher in the most segregated counties.

"Many people living in low-income minority households have less access to employment opportunities, transportation, education and , and are more likely to experience worse health outcomes," said senior study author Xuesong Han, scientific director of health services research at the American Cancer Society.

"These findings show it is imperative we continue to look for ways to increase access to and early detection wherever possible, to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes," she said in a society news release.

The researchers examined county-level sociodemographic and death rate data from 2015 to 2019 from the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.

Among their findings: Residential racial and economic segregation was associated with cancer deaths at the county level.

Segregation was associated with higher death rates from 12 of 13 selected cancer sites.

Reasons why lung cancer death rates would be most strongly associated with segregation included more exposure to risk factors such as smoking and air pollution and less early detection through screening and early diagnosis. A lower survival rate may also be due to limited access to quality cancer care.

"In the past decades, most of the cancer prevention and control efforts targeted individual-level risk factors," said lead author Lu Zhang, from Clemson's Department of Public Health Sciences.

"In the future, more efforts are needed to remove structural risk factors and intervene on the intermediate factors to reduce the impact of segregation on health outcomes," Zhang said in the release.

The findings were published Nov. 17 in the journal JAMA Oncology.

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on equity in cancer prevention and control.

Lu Zhang et al, Association of Residential Racial and Economic Segregation With Cancer Mortality in the US, JAMA Oncology (2022). DOI: 10.1001/jamaoncol.2022.5382

Journal information: JAMA Oncology

Copyright © 2022 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Citation: As segregation rises in communities, so do cancer death rates (2022, November 18) retrieved 7 December 2023 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Explore further

Considerable racial, ethnic and sociodemographic disparities present in cancer


Feedback to editors