What is known?
Loss of life expectancy (LOLE) due to a cancer diagnosis provides a different perspective to standard measures of prognosis following a cancer diagnosis. LOLE is the difference between the life expectancy among the general population, and the life expectancy of people diagnosed with cancer. Little is known about how LOLE varies by residential location of cancer patients.
What is new?
We carried out a study to estimate LOLE using a cohort of 371,570 cancer patients diagnosed in Queensland. Those who lived in more socioeconomically disadvantaged areas and those areas more than an hour travel from the closest radiation treatment facilities, had higher LOLE than those in the rest of the state.
For cancer patients diagnosed in 2016, an estimated 101,387 life years will be lost. This would be reduced by 19% if all patients experienced the same relative survival as those patients living in the most accessible, affluent geographical areas of the state.
What does this mean?
Although cancer survival has largely improved over time, this study has shown the impact of a cancer diagnosis on remaining life expectancy varied by geographical area. The findings strengthen the impetus to better understand the reasons behind those geographic variations. Understanding these reasons is crucial to inform targeted interventions that could potentially increase the life expectancy of cancer patients living in more disadvantaged areas.
Contact: Kou Kou
Reference: Kou K, Dasgupta P, Aitken J, Baade P. Impact of area-level socioeconomic status and accessibility to treatment on life expectancy after a cancer diagnosis in Queensland, Australia. Cancer Epidemiology. 2020; 69:101803.