Breast cancer least common in poor neighbourhoods

If you live in a higher-income neighbourhood, you are 15% more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than if you live in a poor neighbourhood. Statistics Canada’s Health Reports has just published this report from University of British Columbia researchers, Borugian, Spinelli, Abanto and Wilkins,  using data from the Canadian Cancer Registry and past censuses. Rates of breast cancer were studied in neighbourhoods across Canada.

The findings are counter to the trend found in most research on the social determinants of health.

Researchers found that, even when they controlled for mammography rates, age and childbirth rates, women in the lowest income quintile (fifth) of neighbourhoods had the lowest risk of breast cancer. Researchers were not able to determine why this was so but speculate that the effects occur at more than the individual level.

Sick and Tired: The Compromised Health of Social Assistance Recipients and the Working Poor in Ontario, Social Planning Toronto and Wellesley Institute, 2009

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