Although socioeconomic status (SES) has been focused on as a key determinant of cancer stage at diagosis in western countries, there has been no systemic study on the relationship of SES and breast cancer stage at diagnosis in China.
The medical charts of 4,211 eligible breast cancer patients from 7 areas across China who were diagnosed between 1999 and 2008 were reviewed. Four area-based socioeconomic indicators were used to calculate area-based SES by cluster analysis. The associations between area-based SES and stage at diagnosis were analyzed by trend chi-square tests. Binary logistic regression was performed to estimate odds ratios for individual demographic characteristics' effects on cancer stages, stratified by area-based SES.
The individual demographic and pathologic characteristics of breast cancer cases were significantly different among the seven areas studied. More breast cancer cases in low SES areas (25.5%) were diagnosed later (stages III & IV) than those in high (20.4%) or highest (14.8%) SES areas (χ2 for trend = 80.79, P < 0.001). When area-based SES is controlled for, in high SES areas, cases with less education were more likely to be diagnosed at later stages compared with more educated cases. In low SES areas, working women appeared to be diagnosed at earlier breast cancer stages than were homemakers (OR: 0.18-0.26).
In China, women in low SES areas are more likely to be diagnosed at later breast cancer stages than those in high SES areas.
Keywords: Breast cancer, Stage at diagnosis, Area-based socioeconomic status, Nation-wide, Multi-center, Retrospective study