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Concept Paper

Reconceptualising Rural Cancer Inequalities: Time for a New Research Agenda

1
Population Health Sciences Institute, Newcastle University, Sir James Spence Institute, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE1 4LP, UK
2
Division of Applied Health Sciences, Section of Academic Primary Care; University of Aberdeen, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK
3
Institute of Health Sciences, General Practice & Primary Care; 1 Horselethill Road, Glasgow G12 9LX, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1455; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17041455
Received: 29 January 2020 / Revised: 18 February 2020 / Accepted: 18 February 2020 / Published: 24 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Health Disparities)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: cancer survival; diagnostic pathways; symptoms; treatment; rural populations; inequalities cancer survival; diagnostic pathways; symptoms; treatment; rural populations; inequalities
MDPI and ACS Style

Dobson, C.; Rubin, G.; Murchie, P.; Macdonald, S.; Sharp, L. Reconceptualising Rural Cancer Inequalities: Time for a New Research Agenda. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1455. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17041455

AMA Style

Dobson C, Rubin G, Murchie P, Macdonald S, Sharp L. Reconceptualising Rural Cancer Inequalities: Time for a New Research Agenda. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(4):1455. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17041455

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dobson, Christina, Greg Rubin, Peter Murchie, Sara Macdonald, and Linda Sharp. 2020. "Reconceptualising Rural Cancer Inequalities: Time for a New Research Agenda" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 4: 1455. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17041455

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