Cancer Mortality Up With Residential Racial, Economic Segregation

Cancer: Segregation was associated with increased mortality for 12 of 13 cancer sites examined.

Residential racial and economic segregation is associated with higher cancer mortality at the county level, according to a study published online in JAMA Oncology.

Lu Zhang, Ph.D., from Clemson University in South Carolina, and colleagues examined the association of residential racial and economic segregation with cancer mortality at the U.S. county level for all cancers combined and for 13 cancer types that represent the top 10 causes of cancer deaths in males and females. County-level sociodemographic data from the 2015 to 2019 American Community Survey were linked to 2015 to 2019 county-level mortality data; 3,110 countries were included.

The researchers found that for all cancers combined, the age-adjusted mortality rates were 179.8, 177.3, 167.6, 159.6, and 146.1 per 100,000 population for the five Index of Concentration at the Extremes categories, from the most to the least deprived. The adjusted mortality rate ratios were 1.22, 1.17, 1.10, and 1.06 for the most deprived counties, followed by the other three quintiles compared with the least deprived counties.

From 12 of 13 selected cancer sites, segregation was associated with increased mortality, with adjusted mortality rate ratios ranging from 1.06 to 1.49 for brain and other nervous system cancer and for lung and bronchus cancer, respectively.

“The findings of this ecological study suggest that residential segregation incorporating both race and income polarization is associated with increased cancer mortality at the county level, highlighting opportunities for geographically targeted cancer prevention and control efforts,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Flatiron Health; a second author received a grant from AstraZeneca.

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