Cancer death disparities linked to poverty, lifestyle factors nationwide
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New Haven, Conn. — Yale researchers have identified factors that may contribute to widening cancer death disparities among counties across the United States. These factors, which include both socioeconomic and behavioral traits, may provide public health experts with specific targets for potentially reducing cancer disparities, the researchers said.

The study was published in JAMA Network Open.

While cancer death rates have decreased overall in the United States in recent decades, substantial disparities among counties still exist and are growing. To examine the factors that may drive these disparities, a team of Yale-led researchers analyzed publicly available data documenting cancer mortality rates by county. They compared the rates in low-, medium-, and high-income counties. Using a novel method known as mediation analysis, the research team identified factors that were associated with the disparities, they said.

The research team confirmed that there are significant county-level disparities in cancer deaths, ranging from 186 deaths per 100,000 persons in high-income counties to 230 deaths per 100,000 persons in low-income counties.

Their mediation analysis found that most of the disparities could be explained by a small number of key factors. “The most important of these factors appear to be food insecurity, smoking, physical inactivity,

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