Socioeconomic inequalities in prostate cancer survival: A review of the evidence and explanatory factors

Although survival rates after prostate cancer diagnosis have improved in the past two decades, survival analyses regarding the socioeconomic status (SES) suggest inequalities indicating worse prognosis for lower SES groups.

An overview of the current literature is lacking and moreover, there is an ongoing discussion about the underlying causes but evidence is comparatively sparse. Several patient, disease and health care related factors are discussed to have an important impact on disparities in survival. Therefore, a systematic review was conducted to sum up the current evidence of survival inequalities and the contribution of different potential explanatory factors among prostate cancer patients. The PubMed database was screened for relevant articles published between January 2005 and September 2014 revealing 330 potentially eligible publications. After systematic review process, 46 papers met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review. About 75% of the studies indicate a significant association between low SES and worse survival among prostate cancer patients in the fully adjusted model. Overall, hazard ratios (low versus high SES) range from 1.02 to 3.57. A decrease of inequalities over the years was not identified. 8 studies examined the impact of explanatory factors on the association between SES and survival by progressive adjustment indicating mediating effects of comorbidity, stage at diagnosis and treatment modalities. Eventually, an apparent majority of the obtained studies indicates lower survival among patients with lower SES. The few studies that intend to explain inequalities found out instructive results regarding different contributing factors but evidence is still insufficient.

Social science & medicine (1982) 2015 Jul 11 [Epub ahead of print]

Jens Klein, Olaf von dem Knesebeck

Department of Medical Sociology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany Department of Medical Sociology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany 



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