Study links area-level income and education with lung cancer diagnosis – ThePrint – ANIFeed

Washington [US], Jun. 20 (ANI): Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, and early detection and treatment are key to prolonging patient survival. A recent study by Wiley, published online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, found that education and income in the area were associated with patients’ stage of lung cancer at the time of diagnosis.

Research has shown that lower-income, lower-educated patients, and those living in regions with more socioeconomically poor resources, experience disproportionately poor lung cancer survival. Racial/ethnic minorities in the US also experience higher lung cancer-related death rates.

To understand the relationship between socioeconomic status and lung cancer stage at diagnosis, and how this association may differ by race/ethnicity and access to health care, a team led by Tomi F. Akinyemiju, PhD, MS, of Duke University School of Medicine , analyzed data from the National Cancer Database from 2004-2016 of U.S. patients aged 18-89 years who had been diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer at any stage.

The researchers also collected information about the education and income levels of the areas where patients lived, as well as details about patients’ health insurance and where they received care.

Of the 1,329,972 patients in the study, 17 percent of white patients were residents of areas in the lowest income quartile, compared with 50 percent of black patients, and 18 percent of white patients lived in areas with the highest percentage of adults without a disability. high school education, compared with 44 percent of black patients.

Patients living in the areas with the lowest education and the lowest incomes were 12 percent and 13 percent more likely to have advanced-stage lung cancer at the time of diagnosis, respectively.

These associations persisted in non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and Asian patients; those with government and private insurance (but no insurance); and those treated at each type of facility (community, extended community, academic/research and integrated networking facilities).

However, black patients living in the highest levels of education and income were more likely to develop advanced cancer than their white counterparts in the lowest levels of education and income.

“Our findings support that poverty is a fundamental cause of poor lung cancer outcomes,” says Dr. Akinyemiju. “Notably, higher incomes for blacks did not necessarily lead to better outcomes compared to whites. This highlights the urgent need for targeted efforts to ensure equal access to smoking cessation and lung cancer screening and additional research into other factors driving lung cancer aggressiveness in blacks.”

An accompanying editorial by Erica T. Warner, ScD, MPH, of Massachusetts General Hospital, discusses the results and their implications.

“Segregation and concentration of non-Hispanic blacks and other individuals of color in areas of higher poverty and lower educational attainment is no accident,” Dr. Warner wrote.

“As the authors acknowledge, these findings reflect the nature and impact of structural racism,” she said.

She emphasized the need for proactive, coordinated, community-based efforts to educate patients and clinicians and to address barriers for patients and communities to improve screening, follow-up, and early recognition of lung cancer symptoms. (ANI)

This report is automatically generated by the ANI news service. ThePrint is not responsible for its content.

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