Neighborhood delays cancer diagnosis

Jan. 31, 2008 at 4:15 PM
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CHICAGO, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Women living in Chicago's gentrifying neighborhoods are more apt to receive a late breast cancer diagnosis than those in poorer neighborhoods, a study says.

Researchers at University of Illinois at Chicago analyzed Illinois State Cancer Registry data in conjunction with Cook County census tract data from 1994 to 2000 involving 21,516 breast cancer cases.

Lead author Richard Barrett measured neighborhood change between 1990 and 2000, including changes in owner-occupied housing values, professional and managerial employment and adults with a college education.

"Previous research indicated that those of higher socioeconomic status tend to have lower rates of breast cancer metastasis would lead one to assume that if an area becomes gentrified, then the proportion of breast cancer cases diagnosed with metastases would decline," Barrett says in a statement. "Our study showed that is not true."

The study, published in the Annals of Epidemiology, finds some women in gentrified neighborhoods ran a higher risk of distant-stage metastasis of breast cancer than women living in similar neighborhoods that did not gentrify.

The researchers speculate that women living in upward-moving neighborhoods may experience disruption of social networks, increased stress and interruption of healthcare.

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