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Eur J Cancer Prev. 2014 Nov;23(6):560-5. doi: 10.1097/CEJ.0000000000000004.

Socioeconomic factors and the risk for sarcoma.

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Departments of aCancer Prevention and Control bHead & Neck Surgery, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, New York cDepartment of Cancer Epidemiology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida dDepartment of Sarcoma Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.


Sarcomas are a heterogeneous group of rare malignancies arising from mesenchymal tissue. Although several occupational exposures have been evaluated in association with sarcoma, little is known about the role of socioeconomic indicators such as education. Socioeconomic status has been found to be associated with risk of development of several types of cancers, primarily lung, gastric, and cervical cancers. We conducted a hospital-based case-control study to evaluate the association of socioeconomic level with the risk for sarcoma. A total of 371 incident cases of sarcoma were matched in terms of age, sex, and year of enrollment in the study with 742 cancer-free controls. Education and income levels were evaluated as the indicators of socioeconomic status. Higher education (college level) was associated with a significantly lower risk for sarcoma [odds ratio (OR)=0.48, 95% confidence interval (CI)=0.29-0.80], even after adjusting for important confounders. After stratifying by sex, significantly lower risk for sarcoma was observed among men who had college level education compared with men with a level of education of eighth grade or lower (OR=0.38, 95% CI=0.19-0.74). A significant association between education and the risk for sarcoma remained after stratifying by income (OR=0.49, 95% CI=0.28-0.86, among the low income group). When analyzed as a composite exposure, individuals with high education and high income status had significantly lower risk for sarcoma compared with those with low income and low education status (OR=0.41, 95% CI=0.23-0.71). Thus, socioeconomic factors may play a significant role in determining the risk for sarcoma and should be explored further to elucidate the underlying factors that may explain these sociodemographic inequalities related to sarcoma.

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