Wealth status ‘may affect distribution of cancer types’

27 May 2014

Certain cancers are more common in areas with high levels of poverty, while other forms of the disease are more concentrated in wealthy regions, according to new research published in the online journal CANCER. 

The study also discovered that areas with higher incidences of poverty had lower prevalence of cancer and an increased rate of mortality compared to wealthier regions.

Scientists believe the results demonstrate the importance of including measures of socioeconomic status in national cancer observation efforts.

The research suggested that, overall, socioeconomic status is not related to cancer risk - the disease does not differentiate between the wealthy and poor. However, it does seem to influence the type of cancer a person may develop.

Three million cancer patients from New York were assigned a poverty rate and grouped accordingly. The results indicated that 32 out of 39 cancer types were associated with poverty. 

According to the results, specific types of the disease - 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 common in the wealthiest neighbourhoods.

Dr Frank Boscoe, lead author of the study, commented: "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."

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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