WEDNESDAY, May 13 (HealthDay News) -- Residents of densely populated cities may have a higher risk of cancer diagnosis at a late stage than those in nonurban areas, according to research published online May 11 in the journal Cancer.
Sara McLafferty, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Fahui Wang, Ph.D., of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge analyzed data from the Illinois State Cancer Registry from 1998 through 2002, focusing on breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer. The authors differentiated between the city of Chicago, its suburbs, smaller Illinois metro areas, large towns, and rural areas.
For all these cancers, the likelihood of late-stage diagnosis was highest in patients living in the city of Chicago. The risk was lowest in other metro areas and large towns, though risk rose somewhat in the most rural areas. For some cancers, but not all, these findings were associated with differences in residents' age and race.
"In conclusion, rural-urban inequalities in late-stage cancer risk are an important dimension of persistent disparities in cancer morbidity and mortality. We observe a reversal of the commonly held view that risks are highest for rural residents. The concentration of health disadvantage in highly urbanized places emphasizes the need for more extensive urban-based cancer screening and education programs, especially programs targeted to the most vulnerable urban populations and neighborhoods," the authors write.
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