Impact of County-Level Socioeconomic Status on Oropharyngeal Cancer Survival in the United States

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To evaluate the impact of county-level socioeconomic status on survival in patients with oropharyngeal cancer in the United States.

Study Design

Retrospective cohort study via a large population-based cancer database.


Data were extracted from the SEER 18 database (Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results) of the National Cancer Institute. The study cohort included 18,791 patients diagnosed with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma between 2004 and 2012.


Patients residing in counties with a low socioeconomic status index had worse overall survival (56.5% vs 63.0%, P < .001) and disease-specific survival (62.7% vs 70.3%, P < .001) than patients residing in counties with a high socioeconomic status index. On multivariable analysis, residing in a county with a low socioeconomic status index was associated with worse overall survival (hazard ratio, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.14-1.29; P < .001) and disease-specific survival (hazard ratio, 1.21; 95% CI, 1.12-1.30; P < .001), after adjusting for race, age, sex, marital status, year of diagnosis, site, American Joint Committee on Cancer stage group, presence of distant metastasis, presence of unresectable tumor, histologic grade, surgical resection of primary site, treatment with neck dissection, and radiation therapy.


Residing in a county with a low socioeconomic status index is associated with worse survival. Further research is needed to elucidate the mechanism by which socioeconomic status affects survival in oropharyngeal cancer.

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