Australian cancer survival rates have widened among the nation’s rich and poor across the last three decades, with researchers now calling for “further examination” into the changes.
A study conducted by the Cancer Institute of NSW and published in journal BMC Health examined cancer registry data of some 651,256 cases spanning from 1980 to 2008, with over 70% of participants (458,455) living in major cities.
Researchers found people living in socio-economically disadvantaged regions were 15% more likely to die from cancer compared to less disadvantaged regions of the state.
“Active attention is needed to address cancer survival disparities by socio-economic disadvantage, especially as these disparities appear to have increased,” they said.
“Reasons behind these disparities should be further examined in order to plan targeted actions.”
Lead researcher Professor Sanchia Aranda, also the CEO of Cancer Council Australia, told AAP that increased education around health and wellbeing was need alongside access to appropriate treatment.
"We know that some of the risk factors for cancer are higher in socio-economically disadvantaged communities and that some of those risk factors are associated with a poorer prognosis," she said.
"For example you are more likely to get lung cancer if you are in the lowest advantage quintile versus the highest because of higher smoking rates," she said.
"Our system is inequitable in the outcomes that it produces and we need to see more attention being paid to solutions that are patient centred not clinician centred.”