Social correlates of total cancer in adults and the very old: UK Understanding Society Cohort, 2009-2010

I. Shiue*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: Understanding of the social determinants of cancer in adults and the very old is still limited. The aim of this study was to provide recent evidence on the social correlates of adult total cancer in a national and population-based setting. Study design: A cross-sectional study in the recent years between 2009 and 2010. Method: Data was retrieved and analysed from the UK Longitudinal Household Survey. Information on demographics, living and work conditions, self-reported cancer and age of onset was obtained by household interview. Analyses included Chi-squared test, t-test, and multilevel logistic regression modelling. Results: Of 50,994 people included in the cohort, 1623 (3.5%) had ever cancer. Of these, 1592 (98.0%) occurred in adulthood (16y+) and only 109 people had their first cancer (incident cancer) at the age when they were interviewed. In the middle-aged and young adults, being female (OR 1.57, 95%CI 1.20-2.06, P=0.001 and OR 2.04, 95%CI 1.07-3.87, P=0.03, respectively), not born in the UK (OR 0.54, 95%CI 0.34-0.88, P=0.01 and OR 0.31, 95%CI 0.09-1.02, P=0.05, respectively), and being obese/overweight (OR 1.49, 95%CI 1.07-2.07, P=0.02 and OR 2.34, 95%CI 1.17-4.66, P=0.02, respectively) were associated with total cancer. However, no associated social factors of cancer in the very old were found. Moreover, prevalence was higher in East Midlands (OR 1.73, 95%CI 1.00-3.00, P=0.05) but not other regions, compared to London region. Conclusion: Social environment seems to continue playing a role in the aetiology of cancer in adults, although novel and/or pooled investigation for the very old would be warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)376-379
Number of pages4
JournalPublic Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Population health
  • Prevention
  • Social determinants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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