A case control study was conducted to test the hypothesis that socioeconomic status is positively associated with multiple myeloma incidence. One hundred and fifty-three myeloma cases and 459 controls were identified at the Duke University Medical Center at Durham, North Carolina. Study members were interviewed regarding indicators of socioeconomic status. The association of myeloma with family income (current and highest), education, occupation, home ownership, dwelling size, and an index of crowding in the home was examined by estimating relative risks. Among these indicators, only home ownership showed any association with multiple myeloma incidence (RR = 1.6, 95% CI: 1.0-2.6). The association of multiple myeloma with socioeconomic status that has been seen in earlier studies may have been due to underascertainment of disease in less advantaged groups. This association is disappearing as access to health care becomes more uniform across socioeconomic groups.
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