Article Abstract

Sociodemographic disparities in access to ovarian cancer treatment

Authors: Shannon Graham, Elaine Hallisey, Grete Wilt, Barry Flanagan, Juan L. Rodriguez, Lucy Peipins

Abstract

Background: Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death among women in the United States. Failure to receive optimal treatment and poorer survival rates have been reported for older women, African-American women, women with low income, and women with public health insurance coverage or no coverage. Additionally, regional differences in geographic access influence the type of treatment women may seek. This paper explores geographic accessibility and sociodemographic vulnerability in Georgia, which influence receipt of optimal ovarian cancer treatment.
Methods: An enhanced two-step floating catchment area (E2SFCA), defining physical access, was created for each census tract and gynecologic oncologist clinic. Secondly, sociodemographic variables reflecting potential social vulnerability were selected from U.S. Census and American Community Survey data at the tract level. These two measures were combined to create a measure of Geosocial Vulnerability. This framework was tested using Georgia ovarian cancer mortality records.
Results: Geospatial access was higher in urban areas with less accessibility in suburban and rural areas. Sociodemographic vulnerability varied geospatially, with higher vulnerability in urban citers and rural areas. Sociodemographic measures were combined with geospatial access to create a Geosocial Vulnerability Indicator, which showed a significant positive association with ovarian cancer mortality.
Conclusions: Spatial and sociodemographic measures pinpointed areas of healthcare access vulnerability not revealed by either spatial analysis or sociodemographic assessment alone. Whereas lower healthcare accessibility in rural areas has been well described, our analysis shows considerable heterogeneity in access to care in urban areas where the disadvantaged census tracts can be easily identified.