Reconceptualising rural cancer inequalities: time for a new research agenda

Dobson, C., Rubin, G., Murchie, P., Macdonald, S. and Sharp, L. (2020) Reconceptualising rural cancer inequalities: time for a new research agenda. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(4), 1455. (doi: 10.3390/ijerph17041455) (PMID:32102462) (PMCID:PMC7068553)

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Abstract

Evidence has shown for over 20 years that patients residing in rural areas face poorer outcomes for cancer. The inequalities in survival that rural cancer patients face are observed throughout the developed world, yet this issue remains under-examined and unexplained. There is evidence to suggest that rural patients are more likely to be diagnosed as a result of an emergency presentation and that rural patients may take longer to seek help for symptoms. However, research to date has been predominantly epidemiological, providing us with an understanding of what is occurring in these populations, yet failing to explain why. In this paper we outline the problems inherent in current research approaches to rural cancer inequalities, namely how ‘cancer symptoms’ are conceived of and examined, and the propensity towards a reductionist approach to rural environments and populations, which fails to account for their heterogeneity. We advocate for a revised rural cancer inequalities research agenda, built upon in-depth, community-based examinations of rural patients’ experiences across the cancer pathway, which takes into account both the micro and macro factors which exert influence on these experiences, in order to develop meaningful interventions to improve cancer outcomes for rural populations.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Cancer survival, diagnostic pathways, symptoms, treatment, rural populations, inequalities.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macdonald, Professor Sara
Creator Roles:
Macdonald, S.Writing – review and editing
Authors: Dobson, C., Rubin, G., Murchie, P., Macdonald, S., and Sharp, L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Publisher:MDPI
ISSN:1660-4601
ISSN (Online):1660-4601
Published Online:24 February 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17(4): 1455
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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