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A Psychosocial Perspective on Socioeconomic Disparities in Cancer 

A Psychosocial Perspective on Socioeconomic Disparities in Cancer
Chapter:
A Psychosocial Perspective on Socioeconomic Disparities in Cancer
Source:
Psycho-Oncology (3 ed.)
Author(s):

Sara Fernandes-Taylor

and Joan R. Bloom

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199363315.003.0005

Socioeconomic inequalities in cancer are pervasive globally and within individual countries. This chapter summarizes the psychosocial pathways by which socioeconomic status (SES) affects cancer incidence, care, survival, and survivorship. Disparities in cancer incidence are often explained by differences in access to preventive healthcare services and differential patterns of behavioral risk, such as smoking. SES differences in access to screening and state-of-the-art treatment are well established and lead in part to striking disparities in cancer survival. In addition, cancer survivors face difficulties with respect to employment, income, and access to health-maintaining resources. The sources of these inequalities vary and are attributed to a combination of environmental, biological, behavioral, psychosocial, and healthcare factors. Overall, SES-related psychosocial disparities in cancer present at all points along the care continuum and are dynamic in nature, changing radically by place and time period. Policy interventions are currently needed to address these disparities.

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