WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30, 2020 (HealthDay News) — U.S. counties with persistent poverty (≥20 percent of residents in poverty since 1980) have higher rates of cancer mortality, according to a study published online Sept. 30 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.

Jennifer L. Moss, Ph.D., from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues calculated 2007 to 2011 county-level, age-adjusted, and overall and type-specific cancer mortality rates by persistent poverty classifications, which were contrasted with mortality in counties experiencing current poverty (≥20 percent of residents in poverty according to the American Community Survey 2007 to 2011).

The researchers found that in non-persistent-poverty counties and persistent-poverty counties, overall cancer mortality was 179.3 and 201.3 deaths/100,000 people/year, respectively. For overall cancer mortality and for several type-specific mortality rates (lung and bronchus, colorectal, stomach, and liver and intrahepatic bile duct), cancer mortality was higher in persistent-poverty versus non-persistent-poverty counties in a multivariate analysis. Elevated mortality rates were seen for all cancer types and for lung and bronchus, colorectal, breast, stomach, and liver and intrahepatic bile duct cancers among counties experiencing current poverty that were also experiencing persistent poverty.

“To prevent health disparities, we need tools, people, and systems to ensure that everyone in this country has access to the tools they need to thrive, including socioeconomic opportunities, equity, and respect, as well as prevention resources and health care services,” Moss said in a statement.

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