199666 Breast and prostate cancer survival in Michigan: Can geographic analyses assist in understanding racial disparities?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 1:15 PM

Jaymie R. Meliker, PhD , Graduate Program in Public Health, Stony Brook University Medical Center, Stony Brook, NY
Pierre Goovaerts, PhD , BioMedware, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Geoffrey Jacquez, PhD , BioMedware, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Gillian AvRuskin , BioMedware, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI
Glenn Copeland, MBA , Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing, MI
Racial disparities in survival from breast and prostate cancer are well established; however the roles of societal/socio-economic factors and innate/genetic factors in explaining the disparities remain unclear. One approach for evaluating the relative importance of societal and innate factors is to quantify how the magnitude of racial disparities changes according to the geographic scales at which data are aggregated. Disappearance of racial disparities for some levels of aggregation would suggest that modifiable factors not inherent at the individual level are responsible for the disparities. The Michigan Cancer Surveillance Program compiled a dataset from 1985-2002 that included 124,218 breast cancer and 120,615 prostate cancer cases with 5-year survival rates of 78% and 75%, respectively. Absolute and relative differences in survival rates for whites and blacks were quantified across different geographic scales using statistics that adjust for population size to account for the small numbers problem common with minority populations. Whites experienced significantly higher survival rates for prostate and breast cancer compared with blacks throughout much of southern Michigan in analyses conducted using federal House legislative districts; however, in smaller geographic units (state House legislative districts, and community-defined neighborhoods), disparities diminished and virtually disappeared. These results suggest that modifiable societal factors are responsible for apparent racial disparities in breast and prostate cancer survival observed at larger geographic scales. This research presents a novel strategy for taking advantage of inconsistencies across geographic scales to evaluate the relative importance of innate and societal-level factors in explaining racial disparities in cancer survival.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss whether geographic analyses can shed light on the roles of innate and societal factors in explaining cancer disparities. Compare how disparities in survival from breast and prostate cancer change across different spatial scales. Consider whether this approach can be used for investigating disparities in other cancers.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Designed, analyzed, and wrote-up the study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.