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The Role Of Socioeconomic Status And Race In Cancer Prognosis

1318 words - 6 pages

Approximately 15 million cancer cases exist today around the world, with an estimated 24 million increase in the next twenty years (Ferlay et al., 2013). It is evident that the number of individuals facing a cancer diagnosis is rising and will continue to do so. Recent studies explored the correlation between socioeconomic status, race and cancer prevalence. Inadequate access to health care programs, higher exposure to drugs and alcohol, and poorer living conditions are factors that can negatively affect an individual’s health. Higher family income is associated with a healthier lifestyle because of better access to health care and less exposure to toxins. In this paper the following research questions are examined: What is the influence of socioeconomic status inequalities on cancer risk? and Do racial disparities correlate with cancer mortality? It has been hypothesized that inequalities in economic classes and race will negatively impact the development of cancer and patient survival. The following literature review supports the hypotheses by examining how social class and race affect cancer stage and patient mortality.
Review of Literature
Madison et al investigated the association between social class, race and cancer stage at diagnosis (2004). The population was selected from the Detroit SEER cancer registry, which included demographics and all incident cancers. Madison et al found association between low family income and advanced stage disease. African Americans belonged to a lower social class and Whites were found in upper classes. Individuals (e.g., African Americans) in a lower socioeconomic class also presented a higher risk for death. Another study provided strong association between socioeconomic status and patient mortality. Menvielle et al examined the influence of socioeconomic inequalities in cancer mortality rates among a group of French men (2007). The French National Statistics Institute developed a longitudinal study. A representative sample was obtained by randomly selecting 1% of France’s population. Mortality rates were obtained through the national death registry. Occupational class was taken from the census at the time of the study. The analyses included all cancers but a greater number of cases for lung and esophageal cancer. The study found that 40% of cancer mortality rates in France trace back to socioeconomic inequalities (Menvielle et al., 2007). Special attention should be given to lower socioeconomic groups for treatment and cancer risk. Reducing socioeconomic inequalities and facilitating access to health care for these groups will help lower cancer mortality. Krieger, Chen and Waterman explored the influence of racial disparities and economic differences on breast cancer (2010). The data was obtained from the SEER registry, which included race, county income level and age. The results were just as hypothesized; falling cancer incident rates between the years 1992 and 2005 were only present among White...

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