We tested whether inner-city women were at significantly increased risk of late-stage cancer diagnosis because they resided in extremely poor and socially isolated neighborhoods or in neighborhoods meeting the federal definition of a medically underserved area (MUA). Cancer registry data on women in three American cities were matched to Census data. Using logistic regression we found that residence in economically and socially distressed or medically underserved neighborhoods tended to increase the likelihood of late-stage cancer diagnoses. Further, we found that not all areas that are economically and socially distressed receive the federal MUA designation. Consequently, we argue that economically and socially distressed neighborhoods should be automatically designated as MUA.