Study finds that people with low incomes and precarious housing less likely to get screened for cancer

Adults living with low incomes are less likely to be screened for colorectal, cervical and breast cancer, says researchers from the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) in a study. It used social determinants of health to examine cancer screening disparities among patients of the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team.

Lead investigators Drs. Aisha Lofters and Tara Kiran, Assistant Professors at DFCM and family physicians at St. Michael’s Hospital, also found that housing status – whether the patient owns, rents or lives in a special housing arrangement– is linked with a patient’s likelihood to get screened for cancer.

“Our goal was to figure out if there are particular groups of patients where we could do a better job ensuring they are receiving regular screenings for cancer,” says Dr. Lofters, a researcher and physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.

“The point of screening is to catch cancer at an early stage or, even better, catch an abnormality before it turns into cancer so doctors can focus on treatment and prevention before it spreads.”

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