Do Rural Breast and Colorectal Cancer Patients Present at More Advanced Disease Stages than their Urban Counterparts?


This project used the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER) data set to examine the extent to which rural residents present at more advanced disease stages for breast and colorectal cancer diagnosis when compared to urban residents. We found:

  • In the first study — A greater proportion of rural patients received an initial breast cancer diagnosis at a late stage compared with urban patients and that patients living in remote small rural counties had the highest rate of late-stage breast cancer at diagnosis.  Other factors such as Black race and being uninsured were also associated with late stage at diagnosis. Breast cancer survival is known to be worse for rural patients compared to urban, and late stage at diagnosis may be a contributing factor. These disparities are longstanding and suggest areas for further research, advocacy, policy changes, and patient education.  Further study is needed to identify appropriate screening availability in rural areas and the burdens that travel presents for patients where screening is not available. Read more
  • In the second study — Early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC) is associated with decreased mortality and potential avoidance of chemotherapy. CRC screening rates are lower in rural communities and patient outcomes are poorer. This study examined the extent to which United States’ rural residents present at a more advanced stage of CRC compared to nonrural residents. Read more









Authors Title Type Date Documents/Media
Evans DV, Andrilla CHA, Yung, R, Patterson DG The association of rurality and breast cancer stage at diagnosis: a national study of the SEER cancer registry PUBLICATION 10-20-2021
Policy Brief
Andrilla CHA, Moore TE, Wong KM, Evans DV Investigating the impact of geographic location on colorectal cancer stage at diagnosis: a national study of the SEER cancer registry PUBLICATION 08-27-2019 Article