Area-Based Socioeconomic Inequalities in Colorectal Cancer Survival in Germany: Investigation Based on Population-Based Clinical Cancer Registration

Colorectal Cancer

Front Oncol. 2020 May 29;10:857. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2020.00857. eCollection 2020.


Background: Socioeconomic inequalities in colorectal cancer survival have been observed in many countries. To overcome these inequalities, the underlying reasons must be disclosed. Methods: Using data from three population-based clinical cancer registries in Germany, we investigated whether associations between area-based socioeconomic deprivation and survival after colorectal cancer depended on patient-, tumor- or treatment-related factors. Patients with a diagnosis of colorectal cancer in 2000-2015 were assigned to one of five deprivation groups according to the municipality of the place of residence using the German Index of Multiple Deprivation. Cox proportional hazards regression models with various levels of adjustment and stratifications were applied. Results: Among 38,130 patients, overall 5-year survival was 4.8% units lower in the most compared to the least deprived areas. Survival disparities were strongest in younger patients, in rectal cancer patients, in stage I cancer, in the latest period, and with longer follow-up. Disparities persisted after adjustment for stage, utilization of surgery and screening colonoscopy uptake rates. They were mostly still present when restricting to patients receiving treatment according to guidelines. Conclusion: We observed socioeconomic inequalities in colorectal cancer survival in Germany. Further studies accounting for potential differences in non-cancer mortality and exploring treatment patterns in detail are needed.