Lower survival rates in remote QLD cancer patients


A study into breast and bowel cancer survival rates show a decrease in survival rates in remote Queensland.

Joint research performed by the Cancer Council and Queensland University of Technology between 2001 and 2011 examined changes in breast and bowel cancer survival rates across different geographical areas in Queensland.

“We identified the 478 geographical areas in Queensland, which are statistical local areas, and then our team applied the research… to determine whether survival rates were changing… and the difference between the city and the country”, Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson, Katie Clift explained.

All areas showed survival improvements across all cancers between 2001-2003 and 2008-2011, the study found.

However, remote areas of Queensland showed less survival among breast and bowel cancer patients.

“We found that despite improvements in survival across the board, for all cancers… we had Queensland diagnosed with breast and bowel cancer in some small areas, and in more remote areas, still had lower survival” Clift says.

Although improvements in patient treatment and management appear to be the main influence on recent survival increases for breast and bowl cancer, inequalities in survival rates in remote areas remain.

“We know that there might be a range of reasons for specifically breast and specifically bowel cancer survival. We do need to do more research… but it includes things like access to care, the fact that if you live in a regional or remote area… and of course that contributes to survival” she says.

Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer fatality in Queensland, and around 3300 Queenslanders are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

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