BACKGROUND: Early detection is the best way to control breast cancer. This observational epidemiologic study uses ten years of data, 1988-1997, to determine whether the observed variations in the proportion of breast cancers diagnosed at late stage are simply random or are statistically significant with respect to both geographical location and time.
RESULTS: A total of three spatial-temporal areas were found to deviate significantly from randomness in the unadjusted analysis; one of the three areas contained statistically significant excesses in proportion of late stage, while two areas were identified as significantly lower than expected. The area of excess spanned the first three years of the study period, while the low areas spanned the last five years of the study period. Some of these areas were no longer statistically significant when adjustments were made for SES and urban/rural status.
CONCLUSION: Although there was an area of excess in eastern Massachusetts, it only spanned the first three years of the study period. The low areas were fairly consistent, spanning the last five years of the study period.
Sheehan, T Joseph and DeChello, Laurie M, "A Space-Time Analysis of the Proportion of Late Stage Breast Cancer in Massachusetts, 1988 to 1997." (2005). SoM Articles. Paper 3.