Socioeconomics & Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer gets diagnosed later in lower socioeconomic patients

(RxWiki News) Studies have indicated that people with money and insurance have higher rates of thyroid cancer. Turns out—they just go to the doctor sooner.

A recent study compared thyroid cancer stage diagnosis to socioeconomic status. The good news is—disparity rates are slowly declining year after year.

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Stan Van Umm, MD, PhD, from the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, led the investigation.

Program Co-Chair of the American Thyroid Association (ATA), Dr. Elizabeth Pearce said, “Socioeconomic status is an important health indicator for a number of cancers and other diseases.”

“These new data shed light on yet another area—the time of thyroid cancer diagnosis—in which there is a need to close the gap on this disparity.”

For the study, researchers looked at 1563 patients from a large thyroid cancer registry from 1998 to 2010 in Canada.

Each of the patient cases was evaluated for age of cancer diagnosis, stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis and socioeconomic status.

Socioeconomic status from the Canadian Census was found for 1,334 of the patients.

Authors concluded that the data clearly indicated an association between lower average household income and more advanced staged thyroid cancer at the time of diagnosis.

Study results also showed people were being diagnosed with advanced stage thyroid cancer at an older age.

But based on the cases that were diagnosed over the course of 12 years, researchers found a 4 percent decline in the odds of being diagnosed in the advanced stages of cancer.

This research was presented at the 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Thyroid Association September 19-23, 2012 in Quebec City, Canada. All research is considered primary until it has been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Review Date: 
September 18, 2012