Sociology ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-13-2021


Ovarian cancer is the fifth most deadly form of cancer, and the leading cause of death among gynecologic malignancies in US women. Although this literature has empirically investigated parts of this phenomenon, several major gaps exist. First, this literature rarely attempts to theoretically contextualize the findings by explaining broader etiologies of ovarian cancer. It also does not attempt to explain how or why the social determinants of ovarian cancer disparity, primarily socioeconomic status and race, may be interrelated. Lastly, few studies have attempted to better understand the distinct ways in which Hispanics, as an ethnic group, fit into the ovarian cancer disparities picture. Most of these findings are geographically limited to data from the California Cancer Registry.

In this study, I add to the ovarian cancer disparities literature with several key contributions. I employ fundamental cause (FC) theory as the basis to theoretically delineate the current findings in the literature by quantitatively examining national level ovarian cancer data with the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database. My analysis also utilizes the Department of Health and Human Services’ Area Health Resources File (AHRF), which contains health care utilization and regional demographic information. Findings suggest that the county as a level of analysis is an important contribution to ovarian cancer disparities, particularly when compared alongside race and ethnicity.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Kristin Barker

Second Committee Member

Kimberly Huyser

Third Committee Member

Phillip Gonzales

Fourth Committee Member

Gabriel Sanchez


Ovarian Cancer Disparities



Document Type


Included in

Sociology Commons