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Worse breast cancer outcomes for women from poorer backgrounds are not due to late diagnosis alone
Date:3/24/2010

This release is available in Spanish.

Barcelona, Spain: The largest study in Europe to look at the link between socioeconomic status and survival after breast cancer has found that women from poorer backgrounds have worse outcomes and that this is only partly explained by more advanced cancer at diagnosis.

Although other studies have found that lower socioeconomic status is linked with women consulting their doctors at a later stage when their cancer is more advanced, this is the first study to show that there may be other factors at work that mean these women are more likely to die from their disease.

Dr Esther Bastiaannet, an epidemiologist at Leiden University Medical Centre (Leiden, The Netherlands), will tell the seventh European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC7) in Barcelona today (Wednesday), that the study included 127,599 women who were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1995 and 2005 in The Netherlands. Data from these women were linked with data from the Netherlands Institute for Social Research, which keeps records of socioeconomic status by postcode.

Dr Bastiaannet and her colleagues found that not only was there an association between tumour size at diagnosis and socioeconomic status, but also, even after adjusting for factors such as age, grade and stage of the tumour, year of diagnosis and treatment, there was still a statistically significant association between survival and socioeconomic status. Women from the poorest backgrounds were a fifth more likely to die within ten years of diagnosis than women from the wealthiest backgrounds.

Both the overall survival (deaths due to any cause) and relative survival (the ratio between the survival from breast cancer when compared to the survival expected, based on the general population) declined with lower socioeconomic status. Ten years after diagnosis, overall
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
ECCO-the European CanCer Organisation
Source:Eurekalert

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