Journal Articles

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Cancer Causes Control


PURPOSE: The social vulnerability index (SVI), developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a novel composite measure encompassing multiple variables that correspond to key social determinants of health. The objective of this review was to investigate innovative applications of the SVI to oncology research and to employ the framework of the cancer care continuum to elucidate further research opportunities.

METHODS: A systematic search for relevant articles was performed in five databases from inception to 13 May 2022. Included studies applied the SVI to analyze outcomes in cancer patients. Study characteristics, patent populations, data sources, and outcomes were extracted from each article. This review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines.

RESULTS: In total, 31 studies were included. Along the cancer care continuum, five applied the SVI to examine geographic disparities in potentially cancer-causing exposures; seven in cancer diagnosis; fourteen in cancer treatment; nine in treatment recovery; one in survivorship care; and two in end-of-life care. Fifteen examined disparities in mortality.

CONCLUSION: In highlighting place-based disparities in patient outcomes, the SVI represents a promising tool for future oncology research. As a reliable geocoded dataset, the SVI may inform the development and implementation of targeted interventions to prevent cancer morbidity and mortality at the neighborhood level.


United States, Humans, Social Vulnerability, Neoplasms, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S., Continuity of Patient Care, Risk Assessment

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