Geographical disparities in screening and cancer-related health behaviour

What is known?

Health and cancer outcomes are often poorer in rural areas in Australia, compared to major cities. For example, people living outside of major cities are more likely to be diagnosed with of lung, cervical, and head and neck cancer. Some evidence suggests that poorer health behaviours in rural areas may contribute to this increased risk.

What is new?

Through the examination of population health data, it was revealed that those living in rural areas are more likely to engage in risky levels of alcohol consumption and are less likely to engage in sufficient exercise. Daily smoking is more common in the more remote parts of rural Australia. Participation in cancer screening, however, was relatively equal across all areas.

What does this mean?

Some lifestyle behaviours that can lead to cancer are more common in people living in rural Australia, therefore, interventions targeting health behaviour changes may be particularly important for improving cancer outcomes in these areas.

Contact: Belinda Goodwin

Reference: Goodwin BC, Rowe AK, Crawford-Williams F, Baade P, Chambers SK, Ralph N, Aitken JF. Geographical disparities in screening and cancer-related health behaviour. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(4):1246.

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