A novel method for measuring the burden of breast cancer in neighborhoods

Russell K. McIntire, Hee Soon Juon, Scott W. Keith, Nicole L. Simone, Dexter Waters, Eleanor Lewis, Charnita Zeigler-Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Community-based breast cancer prevention efforts often focus on women who live in the same neighborhoods, as they tend to have similar demographic characteristics, health behaviors, and environmental exposures; yet little research describes methods of selecting neighborhoods of focus for community-based cancer prevention interventions. Studies frequently use demographics from census data, or single breast cancer outcomes (e.g., mortality, morbidity) in order to choose neighborhoods of focus for breast cancer interventions, which may not be optimal. This study presents a novel method for measuring the burden of breast cancer among neighborhoods that could be used for selecting neighborhoods of focus. In this study, we 1) calculate a metric composed of multiple breast cancer outcomes to describe the burden of breast cancer in census tracts Philadelphia, PA, USA; 2) map the neighborhoods with the greatest breast cancer burden; and 3) compare census tracts with the highest burden of breast cancer to those with demographics sometimes used for geo-based prioritization, i.e., race and income. The results of our study showed that race or income may not be appropriate proxies for neighborhood breast cancer burden; comparing the breast cancer burden with demographics at the census tract level, we found few overlaps with the highest percentage African American or the lowest median incomes. Agencies implementing community-based breast cancer interventions should consider this method to inform the selection of neighborhoods for breast cancer prevention interventions, including education, screening, and treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102218
Pages (from-to)102218
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Jun 2023


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Epidemiology
  • Geographic mapping
  • Prevention & control
  • Public health
  • Residence characteristics


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