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Am J Epidemiol. 2012 Dec 15;176(12):1141-6. doi: 10.1093/aje/kws211. Epub 2012 Nov 19.

Individual and neighborhood socioeconomic status in relation to breast cancer incidence in African-American women.

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Slone Epidemiology Center at Boston University, 1010 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Socioeconomic status (SES) for both individuals and neighborhoods has been positively associated with incidence of breast cancer, although not consistently. The authors conducted an assessment of these factors among African-American women, based on data from the Black Women's Health Study, a prospective cohort study of 59,000 African-American women from all regions of the United States. Individual SES was defined as the participant's self-reported level of education, and neighborhood SES was measured by a score based on census block group data for 6 indicators of income and education. Analyses included 1,343 incident breast cancer cases identified during follow-up from 1995 through 2009. In age-adjusted analyses, SES for both individuals and neighborhoods was associated with an increased incidence of estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. The associations were attenuated by control for parity and age at first birth, and there was no association after further control for other breast cancer risk factors. These findings suggest that the observed associations of breast cancer with SES may be largely mediated by reproductive factors that are associated with both estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and SES.

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