Cancer in social context

As with so many health and wellbeing issues, cancer does not affect communities evenly.

Research from the Australian government’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows, for instance, that First Nations people are 14% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and 20% less likely to survive at least five years after diagnosis compared with non-Indigenous Australians.  

People living in regional areas also have higher cancer rates, as do those living in more socio-economically disadvantaged areas – and these communities also have poorer survival rates. 

Illustration in cancer in a social context

These poorer health outcomes are connected to a number of issues, such as higher rates of smoking, racism and histories of poor treatment from health professionals, which can mean people feel less safe getting treatment, as well as having less access to screening and treatment services, or having to travel long distances for treatment.  

These statistics show that there is a need for better and more targeted policy that addresses social inequalities, and inequalities in access to health prevention measures, cancer screening and treatment. 


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