Disadvantaged Queenslanders at high risk of cancer

NEW research has found that Queenslanders living in disadvantaged areas of the state are up to 94 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with bowel cancer and 70 per cent more likely to get lung cancer.

The data also show deaths from lung cancer are 48 per cent higher in disadvantaged parts of Queensland compared to advantaged areas.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said certain risk factors for chronic disease were significantly higher in adults living in disadvantaged parts of the State.

"Adults living in these areas are 87 per cent more likely to smoke daily, 80 per cent more likely to be obese and 33 per cent more likely to have insufficient fruit intake," Ms Clift said.                          

"The rate of childhood obesity in disadvantaged areas is also double that of children in advantaged areas - though, obesity remains a problem no matter where you live in Queensland."

Ms Clift believed these results needed to be taken seriously.

"Addressing these risks is significant in reducing health inequalities and preventable cases of cancer," she said.

"However, differences in risk factors are only one possible explanation, and more work needs to be done to determine the reason for these health gaps across socioeconomic areas in Queensland.

"The all-cancer death rate, across the board, is 24 per cent higher in disadvantaged areas than advantaged areas.

"More needs to be done to help local Queenslanders beat cancer - we need more research to determine why these inequalities exist, and to help people affected."

CCQ research shows around nine per cent of regional cancer-related deaths could be prevented if survival rates were equal to those in the city.

"There are a range of personal and broader external factors that influence the health behaviours of disadvantaged Queenslanders," Ms Clift said.

"An urgent need remains to encourage all Queenslanders to participate in recommended cancer screening to improve survival outcomes, and to seek medical attention promptly.

"Greater awareness and ongoing research are vital to overcoming this disparity and closing this unacceptable survival gap."

Up to one third of all cancer cases are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices - including quitting smoking, ensuring a healthy diet, limiting alcohol, being active and maintaining a healthy weight.

Topics:  cancer cancer council queensland health

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