Women from poor backgrounds have worse breast cancer outcomes
December 15, 2015
"We concluded that socioeconomic differences in The Netherlands were associated not only with tumour size at diagnosis and but also with long term survival. The more advanced cancer at diagnosis in patients with a lower socioeconomic status only partly explains their decreased survival after five and ten years. We think further research is needed to identify reasons for these disparities, with the hope of eliminating them in the future. In addition, socioeconomic status should be considered as a prognostic factor for breast cancer patients in The Netherlands."
She said this was the largest study in Europe to look at the association between socioeconomic status and survival and the first to describe the disparities at a national level in The Netherlands. "I think that it is possible to extrapolate our findings to other countries in Europe that have similar healthcare systems to The Netherlands where healthcare is at a high level and available to everyone."
At present, it is not known for certain what factors might be contributing to the higher risk of death from breast cancer among women from poorer backgrounds. "Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, may play a role," said Dr Bastiaannet. "Access to early detection, treatment that could be influenced by other health problems, and other, as yet, unknown factors all may be involved as well."
The researchers are planning to extend their research by comparing treatment according to tumour stage, and by investigating the factors that could influence the choice of treatment.
Source: ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation