Risk of severe colorectal cancer higher for those with low socioeconomic status

Low socioeconomic status has been linked to higher incidence of late-state, non-localized colorectal cancer, according to data presented at the 2010 AACR Conference on The Science of Cancer Health Disparities.

Chyke Doubeni, MD, MPH, assistant professor of family medicine and community health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and colleagues used the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study to obtain data on the socioeconomic statistics of participants who had no history of colorectal cancer.

Researchers reported that among the 6,934 cases of colorectal cancer identified, 59% of the cases were non-localized. After adjusting for age and sex, the colorectal cancer incidence was 17.5 per 10,000 person-years.

Among the cases identified, participants who resided in the least socioeconomically deprived neighborhoods had an incidence rate of 16.2% compared with 19.8% for those living in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Furthermore, researchers reported that after accounting for education level, dietary patterns, smoking history, and body mass index, those in the most deprived neighborhoods had a 13% higher overall incidence of colorectal cancer and 15% higher incidence of non-localized colorectal cancer compared with those in the least deprived neighborhoods.

“Community clinical practitioners should be encouraged to understand the neighborhood characteristics of their patients and use that information to guide their encounters with patients, to help reduce disparities for colorectal cancer,” said Dr. Doubeni. “We need to understand more about the health care utilization patterns of patients in poorer neighborhoods and obstacles to colorectal cancer screening in those neighborhoods.”

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