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The role of residential history in cancer research: A scoping review. Soc Sci Med 2021 Feb;270:113657



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85098596638 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   6 Citations


The role of residential history in cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and survivorship is garnering increasing attention in cancer research. To our knowledge, there is no comprehensive synthesis of the current state of knowledge in the field. We reviewed the extant literature on this topic and conducted a scoping analysis to examine two main research questions: (a) To what degree, and how, have researchers accounted for residential history/mobility in cancer research? and (b) What are the gaps in the literature based on a knowledge synthesis using scoping review and concept mapping? To answer these questions, this scoping analysis focuses on how researchers compile, analyze and discuss residential history/mobility in studies on cancer. The study is focused on peer-reviewed articles from 6 different datasets (PubMed, Cinahl, Scopus, Web of Science and JSTOR, ERIC) from 1990 to August 2020. The review captured 1951 results in total, which was scoped to 281 relevant peer-reviewed journal articles. First, we examined these articles based on cancer continuum, cancer type and the main theme. Second, we identified 21 main themes and an additional 16 sub-themes in the pool of the selected articles. We utilized concept mapping to provide a conceptual framework and to highlight the underlying socioecological assumptions and paradigms. Results show that cancer research incorporating residential histories is primarily focused on incidence and estimating cumulative exposure, with little consideration across the cancer continuum. Additionally, our review suggests that although the social environment plays an important role across the cancer continuum, a small number of articles were focused on such factors and this area remains relatively unexplored. Additionally, the expansion of interdisciplinary research on residential mobility before and after cancer diagnosis will enhance understanding of the role of environmental and socioeconomic characteristics and exposures on cancer continuum.

Author List

Namin S, Zhou Y, Neuner J, Beyer K


Kirsten M. Beyer PhD, MPH Associate Professor in the Institute for Health and Equity department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Joan Neuner MD, MPH Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Delivery of Health Care
Population Dynamics