The impact of social class on the use of cancer screening within three racial/ethnic groups in the United States.
Hoffman-Goetz L. Breen NL. Meissner H.
Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Despite the consistent and strong association of social class with health status, the extent to which racial/ethnic disparities in cancer screening reflect social class is rarely addressed. We hypothesized that the use of cancer screening is positively correlated with social class for black, white and Hispanic Americans. Data from the 1987 and 1992 National Health Interview Survey Cancer Control Supplements were compared for each racial/ethnic group by income, education, age, and gender. For each racial/ethnic group, individuals with less education or income are less likely to be screened. Although specific subgroups increased their use of screening modalities between 1987 and 1992, older black Americans who were poor or had less education reported less screening than similar older white Americans. Although social class is a powerful explanatory variable for younger Americans, racial disparities in cancer screening persist among older black Americans.