An Exploration of Rural–Urban Residence on Self-Reported Health Status with UK Cancer Survivors Following Treatment: A Brief Report

Objective: To explore the effect of rural–urban residence on the self-reported health status of UK cancer survivors following primary treatment. Design: A post-positivist approach utilizing a cross-sectional survey that collected data on demographics, postcode and self-reported health status. Methods: An independent samples t test was used to detect differences in health status between rural and urban respondents. Pearson’s χ2 was used to control for confounding variables and a multivariate analysis was conducted using Stepwise linear regression. Setting: East Midlands of England. Participants: Adult cancer survivors who had undergone primary treatment in the last five years. Participants were excluded if they had recurrence or metastatic spread, started active oncology treatment in the last twelve months, and/or were in receipt of palliative or end-of-life care. Main outcome: Residence was measured using the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) RUC2011 Rural–Urban Classifications and Health Status via the UK ONS self-reported health status measure. Ethics: The study was reviewed and approved (Ref: 17/WS/0054) by an NHS Research Ethics Committee and the Health Research Authority (HRA) prior to recruitment and data collection taking place. Results: 227 respondents returned a questionnaire (response rate 27%). Forty-five percent (n = 103) were resident in a rural area and fifty-three percent (n = 120) in an urban area. Rural (4.11 ± 0.85) respondents had significantly (p < 0.001) higher self-reported health statuses compared to urban (3.65 ± 0.93) respondents (MD 0.47; 95% CI 0.23, 0.70). Conclusion: It is hoped that the results will stimulate further work in this area and that researchers will be encouraged to collect data on rural–urban residency where appropriate.


University of Lincoln, College of Social Science Research

David Nelson, University of Lincoln, Linvoln International Institute for Rural Health and Macmillan Cancer Support

Ian McGonagle, University of Lincoln, School of Health and Social Care

Christine Jackson, University of Lincoln, School of Health and Social Care

Ros Kane, University of Lincoln, School of Health and Social Care