Skip to main content

Socioeconomic Factors and Cancer Disparities

Socioeconomic factors such as education, employment, health insurance status, housing, and income have the potential to contribute to significant disparities across the cancer continuum.

For example, people with limited income or inadequate health insurance coverage often face many hurdles when it comes to receiving cancer screening exams and high-quality cancer care, from the direct costs of medical services to indirect costs related to transportation, lost wages, caretaking expenses, and other needs.

Anytime a hurdle trips up their care—causing them to skip medications, or delay care, for instance—the risk for negative health outcomes increases and the disparities between them and people who do not face those hurdles increase.

Our Research Focus

The ACS Cancer Disparity Research team leads studies to better understand the socioeconomic factors that shape cancer inequities as well as approaches for reducing those inequities.

Our current research focuses on:

  • The effect health insurance status has on cancer screening, risk of being diagnosed with cancer at advanced stages, and other cancer-related health outcomes
  • How access to affordable housing programs affects participation in cancer screening and access to cancer care among people with limited income
  • How access to education affects disparities in cancer incidence and mortality
  • The impact of COVID-19 on socioeconomic disparities in cancer-related care and outcomes after that care.

Recent Studies