Geographical Oncology in Australia


Fraser Clarke

The first geographical study into the prevalence of Cancer in Australia has been published, with an interactive map making for fascinating reading.

Researchers at Torrens University’s Public Health Information Development Unit compiled the report, which illustrated the impact a number of socio-economic factors can have on Cancer prevalence throughout the country.

Lung Cancer was the most common type of the condition in less well off areas, whilst in the wealthier parts of the country it was Prostate Cancer that was most widespread.

Breast Cancer rates in women also followed this pattern, with rates in Darwin being 72% lower for the less well off than for the wealthy.

In Sydney meanwhile patients living in the most advantaged areas had significantly higher rates of cancer-related hospitalisations than those from areas with higher levels of deprivation, a factor that the study’s lead researcher, Professor John Glover, said reflected the greater access to (and use of) preventive health services by people in more advantaged areas.

Whilst the availability of medical care is clearly a factor, many lifestyle related decisions also appear to have lead to the high levels of conditions like Lung Cancer in less developed areas. Rates of smoking amongst lower socioeconomic groups (and the indigenous population, who often live in more remote communities) are far higher than the country’s average.

Geographical influences can also play a part, with Melanoma rates at their highest in Australia’s most affluent coastal locations.

Australia has been attracting skilled immigrants for many years, and with year round sunshine, a world renowned relaxed way of life and good work/life balance it’s not hard to see why it’s the most popular location for expats leaving the UK.

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