(HealthDay News) — Increasing social vulnerability is associated with significant decreases in receipt of care and survival time among pediatric patients with head and neck cancers, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Researchers assessed whether 15 social determinants of health (SDOH) are associated with pediatric head and neck cancer disparities. The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program database (1975 to 2017) was used to identify 37,043 patients (aged 19 years and younger) with head and neck cancer.

The researchers found that increasing social vulnerability was associated with decreases in months under surveillance, ranging from 23.9% for malignant melanomas for lowest vs highest vulnerability to 41.9% for non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Findings were similar when examining socioeconomic status, housing and transportation, and minority and language status.

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A similar trend was seen for lower mean survival time, ranging from 11.3% for ependymomas and choroid plexus tumors to 61.4% for gliomas not otherwise specified for lowest vs highest vulnerability. Minority and language status, socioeconomic status, household composition, and housing and transportation were significantly associated with decreased survival.

“Our results not only confirm anecdotal understandings of SDOH in pediatric HNC [head and neck cancer] but also further explore the complex interactions across a multitude of SDOH through establishing an integrative measure applicable to patients from all US regions with differing sociodemographic and contextual influences,” the researchers wrote.

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