What is known?
In Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (First Nations population) diagnosed with cancer often have low survival. This is also true for all people living in geographically remote areas.
What is not known is whether the extent of lower survival experienced by First Nations peoples diagnosed with cancer varies by geographic remoteness.
This study aimed to quantify the survival disparity between First Nations and other Queenslanders for 12 common cancer types by remoteness areas.
What is new?
Data on all First Nations peoples (n=5,791) and other Queensland residents (n= 368,089) aged 20 to 89 years diagnosed with a primary invasive cancer between 1997 and 2016 were obtained from the Queensland Cancer Register.
First Nations cancer patients faced a consistently poorer survival outcome than other Queenslanders for most cancer types regardless of their location, with little evidence of remoteness influencing the magnitude of the survival differential faced by First Nations cancer patients.
What does this mean?
The lower survival for all cancer patients living in remote areas (both First Nations peoples and other Australians) compared to those living in more urban areas, is consistent with the vast distances and small populations in these communities, causing difficulties in ensuring sufficient coverage of health services.
Whether First Nations cancer patients have lower survival than other Queenslanders doesn’t really depend on where they live.
It remains a priority to determine the contribution of other potential factors impacting on the survival of First Nations people diagnosed with cancer such as the availability of culturally acceptable diagnostic, management and/or support services.
Contact: Peter Baade
Reference: Cramb SM, Whop LJ, Garvey G, Baade PD. Cancer survival differentials for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Queensland: the impact of remoteness. Cancer Causes Control. 2022. doi: 10.1007/s10552-022-01643-1.