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Poverty Linked to Increased Likelihood of Certain Cancers

Studies have shown that poverty is linked with poor health. Now a first of its kind study suggests that it is also linked to a higher risk of certain types of cancer.

The researchers examined previous studies that included approximately three million tumors diagnosed between 2005 and 2009 in 16 states, plus Los Angeles. They assigned a poverty level ranging from one to four to each location and then analyzed what types of cancer were most prevalent in each area.

They found that the people in the areas with the highest poverty levels were more likely to get 32 of the 39 cancers compared to the wealthier areas. They also found a difference in the types of cancer poorer and wealthier people developed. Poorer people were more likely to get larynx and liver cancers and the wealthier people more likely to have thyroid or skin cancers.

Researchers from the New York State Cancer Registry, Cancer Data Registry of Idaho, University of Miami, Westat, Inc., University of Nebraska, and Rutgers School of Public Health conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on May 27, 2014, in the journal Cancer.

Factors that result in a link between poverty and poor health include lack of education, lack of proper health care and contaminated food and water sources.

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