Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States that is responsible for over 1,500 deaths each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, the cost of medical care for cancer was an estimated $124.6 billion in the United States justifying a more systematic approach to expanding the use of established screening tests, reducing tobacco use and obesity, and improving diet and physical activity to prevent much of the suffering and death from cancer.
People living in low income conditions are more likely to be exposed to circumstances that give them a higher risk of getting cancer, like smoking cigarettes, eating unhealthy food, not getting enough physical activity, and engaging in risky sexual activity. Therefore, these populations become less likely to get cancer screening tests. So the cancer is often found at a later stage in lower income populations. Even if the cancer is treated, patients representing lower income populations are less likely to survive cancer that’s found after it has advanced.
Major cities tend to have better transportation systems and sidewalks, but often lack parks and playgrounds; open spaces like vacant lots can attract criminals. Country (rural) areas are usually more spread out, making people more likely to drive cars rather than walk. People who live in the rural areas are more likely to be poor than people who live in cities. So people who live in rural populations are more likely to spend time working than going to visit their doctor or a public healthcare professional. They also are more likely to treat the health problems they know they have, instead of getting screening tests to find other health problems early or making lifestyle changes to prevent future health problems.
In the United States, rural residents have a higher risk of tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes increases the risk for many kinds of cancer including cancers of the lip, mouth, throat, pancreas, larynx (voice box), lung, uterine cervix, urinary bladder, and kidney.