Hepatopancreaticobiliary cancer outcomes are associated with county-level duration of poverty

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Surgery (United States)


Background: Socioeconomic status can often dictate access to timely surgical care and postoperative outcomes. We sought to analyze the impact of county-level poverty duration on hepatopancreaticobiliary cancer outcomes. Methods: Patients diagnosed with hepatopancreaticobiliary cancer were identified from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare 2010 to 2015 database linked with county-level poverty from the American Community Survey and the US Department of Agriculture between 1980 to 2010. Counties were categorized as never high-poverty, intermittent high-poverty, and persistent poverty. Hierarchical generalized linear models and accelerated failure time models with Weibull distribution were used to assess diagnosis, treatment, textbook outcomes, and survival. Results: Among 41,077 patients, 1,758 (4.3%) lived in persistent poverty. Counties exposed to greater durations of poverty had increased proportions of non-Hispanic Black patients (never high-poverty: 7.6%, intermittent high-poverty: 20.4%, persistent poverty: 23.2%), uninsured patients (never high-poverty: 0.5%, intermittent high-poverty: 0.5%, persistent poverty: 0.9%), and patients with a rural residence (never high-poverty: 0.6%, intermittent high-poverty: 2.4%, persistent poverty: 11.5%). Individuals residing in persistent poverty had lower odds of undergoing resection (odds ratio 0.82, 95% confidence interval 0.66–0.98), achieving textbook outcomes (odds ratio 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.34–0.84), and increased cancer-specific mortality (hazard ratio 1.07, 95% CI 1.00–1.15) (all P < .05). Non-Hispanic Black patients were less likely to present with early-stage disease (odds ratio 0.86, 95% confidence interval 0.79–0.95) and undergo surgical treatment (odds ratio 0.58, 95% confidence interval 0.52–0.66) compared to non-Hispanic White patients (both P < .01). Notably, non-Hispanic White patients in persistent poverty were more likely to present with early-stage disease (odds ratio 1.30, 95% confidence interval 1.12–1.52) and undergo surgery for localized disease (odds ratio 1.36, 95% confidence interval 1.06–1.74) compared to non-Hispanic Black patients in never high-poverty (both P < .05). Conclusion: Duration of poverty was associated with lower odds of receipt of surgical treatment, achievement of textbook outcomes, and worse cancer-specific survival. Non-Hispanic Black patients were at particular risk of suboptimal outcomes, highlighting the impact of structural racism independent of socioeconomic status.



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