Incidence of lymphoma by socioeconomic status

Alex Smith and Eve Roman, University of York

[Project number 30032]

We have recently conducted a case-control study investigating possible aetiological factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL)(Willett at al 2004). This project accrued cases of lymphoma diagnosed in 1998 to 2001 aged between 18 to 64 in the counties of Lancashire, North, East and West Yorkshire, and the district of South Lakeland, Caradon district of Cornwall, South Devon, Dorset and South Hampshire. The case ascertainment rate was around 96% and a total of 1209 cases were identified and of these 912 cases agreed to be interviewed. All cases, regardless of participation status, were assigned a deprivation category using the Townsend score for England & Wales which was based on data from 1991 Census. Cases appeared to live in more affluent areas compared to the population of England & Wales and this association remained when the Townsend Score was standardised to the population of the study region.

It is important to investigate whether the link between lymphoma incidence and high socioeconomic status (SES) is real or artefactual. This may help elucidate possible risk factors for the development of lymphoma and in particular the role of infectious agents.

Willett, E. V., Smith, A. G., Dovey, G. J., Morgan, G. J., Parker, J., and Roman, E. Tobacco and alcohol consumption and the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Cancer Causes and Control. 2004. In Press

We hope to use data from the LS to examine the incidence of NHL and HL by markers of socioeconomic status including car ownership, housing tenure and occupational social class.