Socioeconomic Inequalities in Cancer Incidence, Survival, and Mortality in Belgium

Victoria Sass , VUB
Michael Rosskamp, Belgian Cancer Registry
Sylvie Gadeyne, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Freija Verdoodt, Belgian Cancer Registry

The relationship between socioeconomic status and morbidity and mortality is well documented in the public health literature. For most outcomes this relationship is negative, aligning with a fundamental cause of disease perspective. Cancer, however, one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the world, does not present as consistent of a relationship. Depending upon the site of the cancer and the cancer indicator used (i.e. incidence, survivability, or mortality) the research investigating the association between socioeconomic status and cancer outcomes is quite heterogeneous, ranging from negative over non-existent to positive. To more thoroughly understand the social patterning of cancer this research will utilize a novel set of data from Belgium which links census records, national mortality data, and a national registry of cancer diagnoses. This allows us firstly to see whether there are socioeconomic differences in site-specific mortality and its constituent components, site-specific cancer incidence and survival. Secondly, if socioeconomic differences are present, we will then determine whether this is a function of higher incidence, lower survival, or a combination of both. Particular attention will be paid to cancers with the largest inequalities and those found to be most preventable. Belgium has the second highest all-cancer incidence in Europe and it is a leading cause of death in the country, accounting for 27% of total mortality in 2013. Coupled with this unique dataset, which allows for the consideration of inequalities between all three dimensions of cancer (incidence, survivability, and mortality), this country presents an interesting setting to investigate social differences in cancer.

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 Presented in Session P2. Poster Session Ageing, Health and Mortality