BACKGROUND: Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in females around the world. Its occurrence and development has been linked to genetic factors, living habits and health conditions, and socioeconomic factors. Comparisons of incidence and mortality rates of female breast cancer are useful approaches to define cancer-related socioeconomic disparities.
METHODS: This was a retrospective observational cohort study on breast cancer of females in several developed countries between 1980 and 2012. The path diagram analysis for five factors, i.e. years, population, gross domestic product, gross domestic product per capita, and unemployment rate, were conducted using Excel database function, and the effects on breast cancer incidence and mortality rates were analyzed. International Agency for Research on Cancer's CANCERMondial clearinghouse was used to determine the incidence and mortality rates of female breast cancer data from several developed countries for 1980–2012.
RESULTS: The relationship between socioeconomic factors and the occurrence and development of breast cancer did not follow a monotonic function. We found a positive, significant association of national public wealth on the incidence and mortality of breast cancer. The path coefficients in the structural equations model are -0.51 and -0.39, respectively. In addition to the significant relationship between individual physical and psychological characteristics, social pressure, such as unemployment rate has a significant impact on the incidence and mortality of breast cancer. The path coefficients in the structural equations model are all 0.2. The path coefficients of individual economic wealth to the incidence rate and mortality rate of breast cancer is 0.18 and 0.27, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: A significant statistical relationship between the socioeconomic development and the crude rates of female breast cancer was shown in this study. The incidence and mortality rates of breast cancer can be regulated effectively by a moderate increase in national public wealth, and clearly was affected by the individual’s economic wealth. In addition, the influence of social pressure (e.g., unemployment rate) on the incidence and mortality of breast cancer was not typical monotonous. The survival rate of breast cancer determined by the ratio of mortality rate to incidence rate also showed a similar pattern with socioeconomic factors.