Cancer is a disease of the body's cells (the basic building blocks of the body) . Normally cells multiply and grow in an ordered way, but sometimes the genetic blueprint (DNA) of cells is damaged and uncontrolled growth can occur; this is cancer. Cancer can occur almost anywhere in the body. Cancer cells are ‘benign' if they do not spread into surrounding areas or to different parts of the body, and are not generally dangerous. If cancer cells spread into surrounding areas, or to different parts of the body (metastasise), they are known as ‘malignant'. Malignant cancers can cause illness and death.
In 2004-2008, that the overall rate of new cases (incidence rate) of cancer was slightly higher for Indigenous people than for non-Indigenous people . Incidence rates vary depending on the type of cancer. Indigenous people had higher incidence rates than did non-Indigenous people in 2004-2008 for:
Indigenous people had lower incidence rates than did non-Indigenous people in 2004-2008 for:
In 2006-2010, cancer was the second most common cause of death for Indigenous people . The types of cancer that caused the most deaths among Indigenous people were lung cancer, cancer of 'unknown primary site', breast cancer (for women), and bowel cancer . The likelihood of getting lung cancer increases when people smoke tobacco.
The fact that Indigenous people are more likely than non-Indigenous people to die from cancer could be because: