Rural-urban differences in stage at diagnosis. Possible relationship to cancer screening

Cancer. 1991 Mar 1;67(5):1454-9. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19910301)67:5<1454::aid-cncr2820670533>;2-k.


Stage at diagnosis was examined for various malignancies identifiable through screening to determine whether rural-urban differences exist in Georgia. Data were obtained from a population-based cancer registry which registers all incident cancers among residents of metropolitan Atlanta and ten neighboring rural counties. Black and white patients with a first primary invasive malignancy newly diagnosed between 1978 and 1985 were included in this study. Residents of the rural area were twice as likely to have unstaged cancers (18.3%) as were urban residents (9.6%). Among patients with known stage at diagnosis, rural patients tended to have more advanced disease than urban patients. The relative excess of nonlocalized malignancies in rural Georgia was 21% for whites and 37% for blacks. The rural excess of nonlocalized prostate cancer among blacks was especially pronounced. Differences in access to or utilization of early detection methods may contribute to the rural-urban differential in the extent of disease at diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • African Americans
  • Aged
  • European Continental Ancestry Group
  • Georgia / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Rural Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*