Author(s): Benard VB
BACKGROUND: This study examined the association between county-level measures of socioeconomic status (SES) and the incidence rate of human papillomavirus(HPV)-associated cancers, including cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal, penile, and oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers.
METHODS: The authors collected data from cancer registries for site-specific invasive cancer diagnoses between 1998 and 2003, inclusive, among adults aged >20 years at the time of diagnosis. County-level variables that included education, income, and poverty status were used as factors for socioeconomic status. Measures of rural-urban status, the percentage of the population that currently smoked, and the percentage of women who reported having ever had a Papanicolaou (Pap) test were also studied. RESULTS: Lower education and higher poverty were found to be associated with increased penile, cervical, and vaginal invasive cancer incidence rates. Higher education was associated with increased incidence of vulvar cancer, male and female anal cancer, and male and female oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers. Race was an independent predictor of the development of these potentially HPV-associated cancers.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings illustrate the association between SES variables and the development of HPV-associated cancers. The findings also highlight the importance of considering SES factors when developing policies to increase access to medical care and reduce cancer disparities in the United States.