Get Cancer? How Much Money Do You Make?

A new study has found what many would like to know.  If I live in a certain place, what are my chances of developing cancer?

Elise Sole reports at that your chances of having certain types of cancer may depend on how affluent your neighborhood is, and that some cancers tend to seek out the poor, while others, the rich.

"In wealthy areas of the country, more common cancers include testicular, thyroid, melanoma, breast, and cervical," she writes. But in poorer areas, it may not be luck so much as "certain risky" behaviors that make you more vulnerable to cancers in other parts of the body.  In poorer areas, cancers include cancers of the penis and cervix, which are linked to sexually transmitted diseases (but don't forget Michael Douglas, with his cancer of the tongue); cancer of the larynx, which can be caused by smoking, drinking, or HPV; liver cancer, often linked to drinking and hepatitis (which can be contracted by needle sharing); and Kaposi's sarcoma, a skin cancer that often occurs in people with AIDS.

 While the frequency of cancer is lower among poor people, death from cancer is higher.  Experts speculate that poor people may not have health insurance, or may not feel comfortable going to a doctor, so the odds are higher their disease may be more advanced when they finally do seek medical help.

Wealth affects health in other ways, too.  Wealthy, educated people tend to have fewer children or bear them later in life. And women who give birth after the age of 30 are more likely to develop breast cancer due to hormonal changes that occur with age.  I wouldn't consider myself wealthy but I was comfortable when i gave birth to my son at 47, then developed breast cancer when he was three. 

Wealthier people are also less likely to engage in risky behavior such as smoking thanks to access to better healthcare education, Sole notes.

So is it not a matter of luck, or where you live, so much as how much money you make?  That would seem to be the outcome of the study. 



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