Grievences Suggestion Feedback

Factors That Contribute to Health Disparities in Cancer

Socio-economic Status

Socioeconomic status (SES) measures a person’s social, economic, and work status.

  • Social status is measured by how many years a person spent in school.
  • Economic status is measured by how much money a person earns each year.
  • Work status is measured by whether a person has a job.

For example, a person with a high SES may have a college degree, earn an above-average income, and have a full-time job that pays well. A person with a low SES may not have finished high school, doesn’t earn enough money to live comfortably, and may be unemployed or have a low- paying job.

How SES affects health

A person’s SES affects his or her ability to get health care. A person with more education is more likely to get a job that pays well and gets paid sick leave. People who have higher incomes are more likely to get tests for early oral cancer detection and also avail the right treatment if oral cancer is found. So people with a higher SES often have higher cancer survival rates.

People with a low SES are less likely to get oral cancer screening tests or do not even visit a dental professional for a dental check-up. So their oral cancer is often found at a later stage, when it causes symptoms. Even if their oral cancer is treated, patients are less likely to survive oral cancer that’s found after it has advanced.

Access to oral health care

The people with low SES are less likely to visit a dentist as mentioned. They avoid oral cancer screening tests. When dentists advise a patient to get a screening test, they avoid for reasons, such as. For example—

  • They may not be aware about the importance of the oral screening.
  • They may be worried about the screening test.
  • They may not be able to take time off from work to go to the dentist.
  • They may not have transportation to go to the dentist and this is not a priority for them.