Study reveals our horrific cancer rates

A new study has revealed Queensland's horrific cancer rates.
A new study has revealed Queensland's horrific cancer rates. Contributed

AN Australia-first study has mapped the prevalence of major cancers across the country, and it's bad news for Queensland.

Pinpointing the areas where cancer occurs the most, the Public Health Information Development Unit at Torrens University revealed the highest rates of all major cancers for men and women are right here.

The study plotted the prevalence of cancer diagnoses by community and locality across the nation, and also broke down cancer prevalence across age, gender, indigenous status, education and wealth.

Queenslanders were found to have the highest occurrences of bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and were also the most likely to develop melanoma.

Across the nation, links were revealed between wealth and remoteness and incidences of cancer.

Lung cancer was found to be more common in poorer areas, while prostate cancer was more prevalent where people were better off.

In Darwin, occurences of prostate cancer were 72% lower in the most disadvantaged areas compared with the most well off. In Sydney the gap was 38% and in Brisbane people in poorer areas were 32% less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Similar results were found for breast cancer, where females in disadvantaged areas of Darwin had rates of breast cancer 72% lower than those in wealthy areas. Brisbane and Sydney had the widest socio-economic gaps of the larger capital cities when it came to breast cancer diagnoses with 35% and 26% respectively.

PHIDU director and the study's leader Professor John Glover said the gap likely reflected greater access to and greater use of preventive health services by people in more advantaged areas.

This was not the case with lung cancer, where in all capital cities other than Brisbane, areas with high rates were strongly linked with socio-economic disadvantage.

Lung cancer rates were also found to be highest in the most remote areas of Australia.

Aussies are able to track cancer rates where they live in an interactive map published on the university's website.

Prof Glover says the Australian first will assist in better targeting prevention programs to minimise occurrences of cancer.

"This research on cancer incidence, which PHIDU has been compiling since 2014, positively contributes to the nation's social justice and wellbeing, and should lead to improved health outcomes over time," he said.

Topics:  cancer editors picks

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