Study: Cancer Rates Lower in Rich Neighborhoods

By Hamodia Staff

A view of central Ramat Hasharon, Israel. (Matzilumei Yehudit Garin-Kol)

A new study has found a striking correlation between socioeconomic levels and the rate of cancer.

The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel, an independent think tank, presented data in a report published on Sunday that indicates that Israelis who reside in the most affluent areas enjoy lower incidence of death from cancer than those who live in middle- and low-income neighborhoods.

“Each year, there are 387 deaths from cancer per 100,000 people on average,” Taub Center researcher Prof. Alex Weinreb told The Times of Israel. “There are substantial differences between middle-income and high-income areas. In middle-income areas, there are about 420 cancer deaths per 100,000, and low income areas are similar.

“But as you go from low-income to higher-income, death rates go down more and more. As the socioeconomic status areas increases, cancer deaths are rarer,” he said.

“In areas that are in the top ten percent of socioeconomic status, like Shoham, Givatayim, and Ramat Hasharon, the cancer death rate is around 340 per 100,000 people, just under 20 percent lower than in the middle-income areas and 12 percent lower than the national average,” Weinreb said.

What accounts for the difference? The researchers can’t say for sure, but at least two answers are being considered:

Wealth allows people to live healthier, have access to superior medical care, and often have more skill at navigating the state health systems.

“Any time you have such a picture as we’re seeing it’s likely, though not certain, to be related to health inequalities,” Weinreb said.

A second possible explanation is geographical: the country’s most affluent locales tend to be clustered in central Israel, where the best medical facilities are also located. Elsewhere, there is a smaller range of facilities and people need to travel further to reach hospitals and clinics.

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