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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Indigenous Australians face higher risk of cancer

Date posted: 7 October 2013

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have higher rates of new cancer cases and cancer deaths than non-Indigenous Australians, according to a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and Cancer Australia.

Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia: an overview is the first comprehensive summary of cancer statistics for Indigenous Australians, detailing the leading causes of cancer deaths for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Australians Cancer Australia CEO Professor Helen Zorbas said the report highlighted the significant impact that cancer had on the Indigenous population.

'Whilst incidence rates for cancer overall were marginally higher for Indigenous Australians, mortality and survival differences between the two population groups are far more striking with Indigenous Australians being approximately 50% more likely to die from cancer than non-Indigenous Australians,' Professor Zorbas said.

AIHW spokesperson Justin Harvey aid that while lung cancer was at the top of the rankings for both groups, differences emerged after that.

'After lung cancer, the two most common causes of cancer death among Indigenous Australians are cancer of the liver and breast cancer (in females). For non-Indigenous Australians, the most common causes are lung cancer, followed by bowel and prostate cancer (in males),' Mr Harvey said.

Professor Zorbas said the report emphasised the important work that needs to be undertaken to address the disparity between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

'The findings of this report underscore the continuing action needed in health promotion, research and health service delivery to best meet the cancer prevention and treatment needs of Indigenous Australians,' Professor Zorbas said.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Mr Justin Harvey
Ph: (02) 6249 5057
Mobile: 0450 677 562

Cancer Australia
Mr Simon Thomas
Ph: (02) 9357 9401
Mobile: 0438 209 833


Last updated: 7 October 2013
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