Where One Lives Impacts Colon Cancer Survival

Surviving colorectal cancer may depend partially on where one lives, a study hints.

Dr. Kevin Henry, of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services in Trenton, and colleagues analyzed survival patterns in different areas of New Jersey among 25,040 men and women diagnosed with colorectal cancer from 1996 through 2003, and monitored through 2006.

They found that the number of people who lived at least 5 years after being diagnosed and treated was about 84 to 88 percent in high-income white neighborhoods, compared with 80 percent statewide.

Survival rates were much lower - just 73 percent - "in low income, racially diverse neighborhoods," Henry noted in an email to Reuters Health.

Five-year survival was 83 percent among Caucasians compared with 75, 79, and 80 percent among Blacks, Hispanics, and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

These findings are similar to those from other regions in the U.S. and elsewhere. Taken together, the data provide strong support for the theory that health is affected by many factors, such as biological, behavioral, and environmental traits, the researchers note.

The current study showed that social characteristics of a neighborhood count as well, Henry said.

Further research is needed to identify specific individual and neighborhood-related risk factors linked with colorectal cancer survival.