Socioeconomic deprivation as a determinant of cancer mortality and the Hispanic paradox in Texas, USA

Billy U. Philips, Eric Belasco, Kyriakos S. Markides, Gordon Gong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Introduction. We have recently reported that delayed cancer detection is associated with the Wellbeing Index (WI) for socioeconomic deprivation, lack of health insurance, physician shortage, and Hispanic ethnicity. The current study investigates whether these factors are determinants of cancer mortality in Texas, the United States of America (USA). Methods. Data for breast, colorectal, female genital system, lung, prostate, and all-type cancers are obtained from the Texas Cancer Registry. A weighted regression model for non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics, and African Americans is used with age-adjusted mortality (2004-2008 data combined) for each county as the dependent variable while independent variables include WI, percentage of the uninsured, and physician supply. Results: Higher mortality for breast, female genital system, lung, and all-type cancers is associated with higher WI among non-Hispanic whites and/or African Americans but with lower WI in Hispanics after adjusting for physician supply and percentage of the uninsured. Mortality for all the cancers studied is in the following order from high to low: African Americans, non-Hispanic whites, and Hispanics. Lung cancer mortality is particularly low in Hispanics, which is only 35% of African Americans' mortality and 40% of non-Hispanic whites' mortality. Conclusions: Higher degree of socioeconomic deprivation is associated with higher mortality of several cancers among non-Hispanic whites and African Americans, but with lower mortality among Hispanics in Texas. Also, mortality rates of all these cancers studied are the lowest in Hispanics. Further investigations are needed to better understand the mechanisms of the Hispanic Paradox.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number26
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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