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The Cancer Burden of Southern-Born African Americans: Analysis of a Social-Geographic Legacy

Michael Greenberg and Dona Schneider
The Milbank Quarterly
Vol. 73, No. 4 (1995), pp. 599-620
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Milbank Memorial Fund
DOI: 10.2307/3350287
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3350287
Page Count: 22
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The Cancer Burden of Southern-Born African Americans: Analysis of a Social-Geographic Legacy
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Abstract

Southern-born black Americans, especially those who migrated to the Northeast and Midwest, had much higher cancer mortality rates during the period 1979 to 1991 than their counterparts who were born and died outside the South. Elevated rates were apparent for the 35- to 44-year-old age group, and were highest among the elderly. The largest and most consistent differences between Southernborn and Northeastern, Midwestern, and Western-born African Americans were for cancer of the breast (female), esophagus, larynx, and lung (male), pancreas, prostate, and stomach. The combined effects of nutritional imbalances, cigarette smoking, high-risk jobs, limited access to medical screening and care, and other factors associated with poverty are suggested as etiologic factors common to this high-risk, Southern-born black population. It is also possible that the Southern-born excess of cancer deaths is at least partly an artifact of the data and the ecological level of the analysis.

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