PLoS One. 2021 Feb 12;16(2):e0244510. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0244510. eCollection 2021.
The association between bladder cancer mortality-to-incidence ratios (MIRs) and healthcare disparities has gender differences. However, no evidence supports gender as an issue in the association between changes in the MIR and health expenditures on bladder cancer. Changes in the MIR were defined as the difference in data from the years 2012 and 2018, which was named δMIR. Current health expenditures (CHE) and the human development index (HDI) were obtained from the World Health Organization and the Human Development Report Office. The association between variables was analyzed by Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. In total, 55 countries were analyzed according to data quality and the exclusion of missing data. Globally, the MIR changed according to the HDI level in both genders. Among the 55 countries studied, a high HDI and CHE were significantly associated with a favorable age-standardized rate-based MIR (ASR-based MIR) in both genders and the subgroups according to gender (for both genders, MIR vs. HDI: ρ = -0.720, p < 0.001; MIR vs. CHE per capita: ρ = -0.760, p < 0.001; MIR vs. CHE as a percentage of gross domestic product (CHE/GDP): ρ = -0.663, p < 0.001). Importantly, in females only, the CHE/GDP but neither the HDI score nor the CHE per capita was significantly associated with a favorable ASR-based δMIR (ASR-based δMIR vs. CHE/GDP: ρ = 0.414, p = 0.002). In the gender subgroups, the association between the HDI and the CHE was statistically significant for females and less significant for males. In conclusion, favorable bladder ASR-based MIRs were associated with a high CHE; however, improvement of the ASR-based δMIR data was more correlated with the CHE in females. Further investigation of the gender differences via a cohort survey with detailed information of clinical-pathological characteristics, treatment strategies, and outcomes might clarify these issues and improve therapeutic and/or screening strategies for bladder cancer.