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Inequalities in mortality of men by oral and pharyngeal cancer in Barcelona, Spain and São Paulo, Brazil, 1995–2003

Author(s): Antunes José | Borrell Carme | Pérez Glòria | Boing Antonio | Wünsch-Filho Victor

Journal: International Journal for Equity in Health
ISSN 1475-9276

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 14;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Abstract Background Large inequalities of mortality by most cancers in general, by mouth and pharynx cancer in particular, have been associated to behaviour and geopolitical factors. The assessment of socioeconomic covariates of cancer mortality may be relevant to a full comprehension of distal determinants of the disease, and to appraise opportune interventions. The objective of this study was to compare socioeconomic inequalities in male mortality by oral and pharyngeal cancer in two major cities of Europe and South America. Methods The official system of information on mortality provided data on deaths in each city; general censuses informed population data. Age-adjusted death rates by oral and pharyngeal cancer for men were independently assessed for neighbourhoods of Barcelona, Spain, and São Paulo, Brazil, from 1995 to 2003. Uniform methodological criteria instructed the comparative assessment of magnitude, trends and spatial distribution of mortality. General linear models assessed ecologic correlations between death rates and socioeconomic indices (unemployment, schooling levels and the human development index) at the inner-city area level. Results obtained for each city were subsequently compared. Results Mortality of men by oral and pharyngeal cancer ranked higher in Barcelona (9.45 yearly deaths per 100,000 male inhabitants) than in Spain and Europe as a whole; rates were on decrease. São Paulo presented a poorer profile, with higher magnitude (11.86) and stationary trend. The appraisal of ecologic correlations indicated an unequal and inequitably distributed burden of disease in both cities, with poorer areas tending to present higher mortality. Barcelona had a larger gradient of mortality than São Paulo, indicating a higher inequality of cancer deaths across its neighbourhoods. Conclusion The quantitative monitoring of inequalities in health may contribute to the formulation of redistributive policies aimed at the concurrent promotion of wellbeing and social justice. The assessment of groups experiencing a higher burden of disease can instruct health services to provide additional resources for expanding preventive actions and facilities aimed at early diagnosis, standardized treatments and rehabilitation.
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Tango Jona
Tangokurs Rapperswil-Jona