Counties with persistent poverty charges expertise larger charges of most cancers deaths

Residents of counties with persistent poverty are at disproportionately high risk of cancer mortality, according to a study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Persistent poverty means that a county has poverty rates of 20 percent or more in the 1980, 1990, and 2000 US census data. Those areas, which make up about 10 percent of all US counties, are primarily in the rural south, according to the study. Lead author, Jennifer L. Moss, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Counties with persistent poverty tend to have more racial and ethnic minorities. more children under 18 years of age; less formal education; and greater unemployment. They also have higher rates of cancer risk factors like obesity or cigarette smoking, Moss added. It distinguished counties with persistent poverty and counties with current poverty, which are defined as 20 percent or more of the poverty-stricken population according to the 2007-2011 American Community Survey.

“Districts affected by persistent poverty have had accumulated health risks for decades and have fewer current or past resources to protect public health,” she said.

In this study, Moss and colleagues examined the cancer mortality rate in persistently poor counties compared to other counties. The median income in persistently poor counties was $ 32,156 compared to $ 47,154 in counties without persistent poverty.

The researchers calculated the age-adjusted, general, and type-specific cancer mortality rates at the district level 2007-2011. They found that the overall cancer death rate in counties with persistent poverty was 201.3 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 179.3 deaths per 100,000 in counties with no persistent poverty.

For each cancer type examined, mortality in counties with persistent poverty was between 11 and 50 percent higher. For example, the death rate from lung / bronchial cancer was 16.5 percent higher; colon cancer 17.7 percent higher; gastric cancer 43.2 percent higher; and 27.6 percent higher in the districts with persistent poverty than in the districts without persistent poverty due to liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancer.

Moss said the differences in different cancers reflect a number of persistent risk factors that are more common in poorer communities, such as smoking, obesity and higher rates of infection. These factors, in turn, are likely to be related to less systemic ways to access good health, such as: B. less job prospects, inadequate health facilities and less safe living and working environments. However, Moss said further research should look into other possible causes for the differences. For example, it’s possible that chronic stress, associated with less access to health care, more chronic unemployment, and other financial factors, leads to inflammation, which leads to some cancers, she said.

In general, the counties with current but not persistent poverty had higher cancer death rates than the entire US population, but lower than the persistently poor counties. Moss said the results of this study suggest that researchers should differentiate between persistent poverty and current poverty, since persistent poverty is linked to the highest risk of cancer mortality. She said the long-established societal issues related to persistent poverty deserve local and national interventions to improve health outcomes.

“To avoid health inequalities, we need tools, people and systems to ensure that everyone in this country has access to the tools they need to thrive, including socio-economic opportunity, equity and respect, and prevention resources and health services.” “Said Moss.

“We need interventions in these communities to change cancer-causing behavior, make cancer screening more accessible, improve treatment, and improve quality of life and survival,” she continued. “Efforts to reduce cancer risk in these countries require strategic coordination, collaboration and funding, with community members contributing every step of the way.”

The main limitation of the study is that it did not take into account residential history, so researchers could not determine whether time spent in a persistently poor county affects cancer mortality risk. This study was funded by the National Cancer Institute. Moss does not declare any conflicts of interest.

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More information:
Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention (2020). DOI: 10.1158 / 1055-9965.EPI-20-0007 Provided by the American Association for Cancer Research

Quote: Districts with persistent poverty rates have higher rates of cancer deaths (2020, September 30), as reported on September 30, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-counties-persistent-poverty-higher-cancer .html

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