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PLoS One. 2014 Nov 5;9(11):e111729. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111729. eCollection 2014.

Socioeconomic disparity in survival after breast cancer in ireland: observational study.

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National Cancer Registry, Cork, Ireland.
Boyne Research Institute, Drogheda, Ireland.


We evaluated the relationship between breast cancer survival and deprivation using data from the Irish National Cancer Registry. Cause-specific survival was compared between five area-based socioeconomic deprivation strata using Cox regression. Patient and tumour characteristics and treatment were compared using modified Poisson regression with robust variance estimation. Based on 21356 patients diagnosed 1999-2008, age-standardized five-year survival averaged 80% in the least deprived and 75% in the most deprived stratum. Age-adjusted mortality risk was 33% higher in the most deprived group (hazard ratio 1.33, 95% CI 1.21-1.45, P<0.001). The most deprived groups were more likely to present with advanced stage, high grade or hormone receptor-negative cancer, symptomatically, or with significant comorbidity, and to be smokers or unmarried, and less likely to have breast-conserving surgery. Cox modelling suggested that the available data on patient, tumour and treatment factors could account for only about half of the survival disparity (adjusted hazard ratio 1.18, 95% CI 0.97-1.43, P = 0.093). Survival disparity did not diminish over time, compared with the period 1994-1998. Persistent survival disparities among Irish breast cancer patients suggest unequal use of or access to services and highlight the need for further research to understand and remove the behavioural or other barriers involved.

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