Objective: The majority of research on breast cancer risk and socioeconomic status (SES) has been conducted for blacks and whites. This study evaluates the relationship between SES and breast cancer incidence in California for four race/ethnic groups.
Methods: Principal component analysis was used to create an SES index using 1990 Census data. Untracted cases were randomly allocated to census block groups within their county of residence. A total of 97,227 female breast cancer cases diagnosed in California between 1988 and 1992 were evaluated. Incidence rates and rate ratios (RRs) were estimated and a chi2 test for trend across SES levels was performed.
Results: SES was positively related to breast cancer incidence, and this effect was stronger for Hispanics and Asian/others than for whites and blacks. Adjusting by SES did not eliminate the differences in breast cancer rates among race/ethnic groups. RR differences between the race/ethnic groups were greatest in the lowest SES category and attenuated with increasing SES. An increasing trend over SES was statistically significant for all race/ethnic groups. Including randomly allocated cases affected RR estimates for white women only.
Conclusions: Our results are consistent with similar findings for the Los Angeles area but differ from previous results for the San Francisco Bay area.