Social correlates of total cancer in adults and the very old: UK Understanding Society Cohort, 2009–2010

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

April 15, 2014


of the social determinants of cancer in adults and the very old is
still limited. The aim of this study was to provide recent evidence on
the social correlates of adult total cancer in a national and
population-based setting.Study designA cross-sectional study in the recent years between 2009 and 2010.MethodData
was retrieved and analysed from the UK Longitudinal Household Survey.
Information on demographics, living and work conditions, self-reported
cancer and age of onset was obtained by household interview. Analyses
included Chi-squared test, t-test, and multilevel logistic regression modelling.ResultsOf
50,994 people included in the cohort, 1623 (3.5%) had ever cancer. Of
these, 1592 (98.0%) occurred in adulthood (16y+) and only 109 people had
their first cancer (incident cancer) at the age when they were
interviewed. In the middle-aged and young adults, being female (OR 1.57,
95%CI 1.20–2.06, P = 0.001 and OR 2.04, 95%CI 1.07–3.87, P = 0.03, respectively), not born in the UK (OR 0.54, 95%CI 0.34–0.88, P = 0.01 and OR 0.31, 95%CI 0.09–1.02, P = 0.05, respectively), and being obese/overweight (OR 1.49, 95%CI 1.07–2.07, P = 0.02 and OR 2.34, 95%CI 1.17–4.66, P = 0.02,
respectively) were associated with total cancer. However, no associated
social factors of cancer in the very old were found. Moreover,
prevalence was higher in East Midlands (OR 1.73, 95%CI 1.00–3.00, P = 0.05) but not other regions, compared to London region.ConclusionSocial
environment seems to continue playing a role in the aetiology of cancer
in adults, although novel and/or pooled investigation for the very old
would be warranted.

Published in

Public Health

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 128 , p.376 -379






Not held in Research Library - bibliographic reference only



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