In a new study published in JAMA Network Open, researchers found that patients who live in low-income communities who have early-stage estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer may have a greater chance of having a more aggressive tumor biology and considerably lower overall survival compared with those who live in communities of a higher income. Using the National Cancer Database, researchers evaluated data from 119,478 patients who had a diagnosis of early-stage ER-positive breast cancer from 2006 to 2018. Approximately 69% of the patients lived in communities that were higher than the median household income in the United States of $50,353, with the other approximately 31% living in communities that fell below that amount.

There was no found connection between high recurrence numbers and low education levels. The investigators noted that since financial distress can impact psychological and emotional upset, worse quality of life, and depression, such distress could potentially weaken p53, which is responsible for inhibiting tumor development. More research is needed on understanding the relationship between financial distress and its impact on tumor formation pathways.

Reference: Low Income Linked to High Recurrence Risk, Poorer Survival in Patients With ER-Positive Breast Cancer. The ASCO Post. Updated February 22, 2023. Accessed March 3, 2023.