Dasgupta, P., Youl, P. H, Aitken, J. F, Turrell, G. & Baade, P. (2017). Geographical differences in risk of advanced breast cancer: Limited evidence for reductions over time, Queensland, Australia 1997-2014. The Breast,36 60-66. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1016/j.breast.2017.09.005
Reducing geographical inequalities in breast cancer stage remains a key focus of public health policy. We explored whether patterns of advanced breast cancer by residential accessibility and disadvantage in Queensland, Australia, have changed over time.
Population-based cancer registry study of 38,706 women aged at least 30 years diagnosed with a first primary invasive breast cancer of known stage between 1997 and 2014. Multilevel logistic regression was used to examine temporal changes in associations of area-level factors with odds of advanced disease after adjustment for individual-level factors.
Overall 19,401 (50%) women had advanced breast cancer. Women from the most disadvantaged areas had higher adjusted odds (OR = 1.23 [95%CI 1.13, 1.32]) of advanced disease than those from least disadvantaged areas, with no evidence this association had changed over time (interaction p = 0.197). Living in less accessible areas independently increased the adjusted odds (OR = 1.18 [1.09, 1.28]) of advanced disease, with some evidence that the geographical inequality had reduced over time (p = 0.045). Sensitivity analyses for un-staged cases showed that the original associations remained, regardless of assumptions made about the true stage distribution.
Both geographical and residential socioeconomic inequalities in advanced stage diagnoses persist, potentially reflecting barriers in accessing diagnostic services. Given the role of screening mammography in early detection of breast cancer, the lack of population-based data on private screening limits our ability to determine overall participation rates by residential characteristics. Without such data, the efficacy of strategies to reduce inequalities in breast cancer stage will remain compromised.
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