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Shorter Survival More Likely for Poorer Patients

In Ontario, little disparity found in stage at diagnosis, but socioeconomic status predicts survival

MONDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- In Ontario, Canada, socioeconomic status (SES) seems to have little impact on cancer stage at time of diagnosis, but poorer patients tend to have shorter duration of survival than wealthier patients regardless, according to research published online Aug. 2 in Cancer.

Christopher M. Booth, M.D., of the Queen's University Cancer Research Institute in Kingston, Canada, and colleagues used data on all cases of breast, colon, rectal, non-small-cell lung, cervical, and laryngeal cancer diagnosed in Ontario between 2003 and 2007, and divided the province's households according to median income.

The researchers found only very modest disparities in cancer stage at diagnosis across SES groups. Five-year overall survival, however, was significantly lower for low-SES patients versus high-SES patients for breast, colon, rectal, non-small-cell lung, cervical, and laryngeal cancer, and three-year cancer-specific survival was significantly lower for low-SES patients for breast, colon, and laryngeal cancer.

"Despite universal health care, SES remains associated with survival among patients with cancer in Ontario, Canada. Disparities in outcome were not explained by differences in stage of cancer at time of diagnosis," the authors write.

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