Socioeconomic inequality in cancer survival - changes over time: A population-based study, Denmark, 1987-2013

Susanne Oksbjerg Dalton, Maja Halgren Olsen, Christoffer Johansen, Jørgen H Olsen, Kaae Klaus Andersen

48 Citationer (Scopus)


Background: Socioeconomic inequality in survival after cancer have been reported in several countries and also in Denmark. Changes in cancer diagnostics and treatment may have changed the gap in survival between affluent and deprived patients and we investigated if the differences in relative survival by income has changed in Danish cancer patients over the past 25 years. Methods: The 1- and 5-year relative survival by income quintile is computed by comparing survival among cancer patients diagnosed 1987-2009 to the survival of a cancer-free matched sample of the background population. The comparison is done within the 15 most common cancers and all cancers combined. The gap in relative survival due to socioeconomic inequality for the period 1987-1991 is compared the period 2005-2009. Results: The relative 5-year survival increased for all 15 cancer sites investigated in the study period. In general, low-income patients diagnosed in 1987-1991 had between 0% and 11% units lower 5-year relative survival compared with high-income patients; however, only four sites (breast, prostate, bladder and head & neck) were statistically different. In patients diagnosed 2005-2009, the gap in 5-year RS was ranging from 2% to 22% units and statistically significantly different for 9 out of 15 sites. The results for 1-year relative survival were similar to the 5-year survival gap. An estimated 22% of all deaths at five years after diagnosis could be avoided had patients in all income groups had same survival as the high-income group. Conclusion: In this nationwide population-based study, we observed that the large improvements in both short- and long-term cancer survival among patients diagnosed 1987-2009. The improvements have been most pronounced for high-income cancer patients, leading to stable or even increasing survival differences between richest and poorest patients. Improving survival among low-income patients would improve survival rates among Danish cancer patients overall and reduce differences in survival when compared to other Western European countries.

TidsskriftActa oncologica
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)737-744
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 4 maj 2019


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