Publication Abstract

Authors: Schootman M, Jeffe DB, Lian M, Gillanders WE, Aft R

Title: The role of poverty rate and racial distribution in the geographic clustering of breast cancer survival among older women: a geographic and multilevel analysis.

Journal: Am J Epidemiol 169(5):554-61

Date: 2009 Mar 01

Abstract: The authors examined disparities in survival among women aged 66 years or older in association with census-tract-level poverty rate, racial distribution, and individual-level factors, including patient-, treatment-, and tumor-related factors, utilization of medical care, and mammography use. They used linked data from the 1992-1999 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) programs, 1991-1999 Medicare claims, and the 1990 US Census. A geographic information system and advanced statistics identified areas of increased or reduced breast cancer survival and possible reasons for geographic variation in survival in 2 of the 5 SEER areas studied. In the Detroit, Michigan, area, one geographic cluster of shorter-than-expected breast cancer survival was identified (hazard ratio (HR) = 1.60). An additional area where survival was longer than expected approached statistical significance (HR = 0.4; P = 0.056). In the Atlanta, Georgia, area, one cluster of shorter- (HR = 1.81) and one cluster of longer-than-expected (HR = 0.72) breast cancer survival were identified. Stage at diagnosis and census-tract poverty (and patient's race in Atlanta) explained the geographic variation in breast cancer survival. No geographic clusters were identified in the 3 other SEER programs. Interventions to reduce late-stage breast cancer, focusing on areas of high poverty and targeting African Americans, may reduce disparities in breast cancer survival in the Detroit and Atlanta areas.