Study set to help close the regional cancer divide
ONE regional Queenslander will die every day from cancer because they live outside a major city – a statistic Queensland researchers are dedicated to changing.
Leading researchers from Cancer Council Queensland and University of Southern Queensland have launched a state-first study, Travelling for Treatment, investigating the experiences of rural and regional cancer patients who are required to travel for treatment.
Cancer patients staying at Cancer Council’s accommodation lodges across the state will be invited to participate to help researchers better understand why cancer survival rates are lower in country areas than in the city.
University of Southern Queensland Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Jeff Dunn AO, said gaining a deeper understanding into the challenges faced by regional Queenslanders would shape future initiatives and support services designed to combat regional inequalities.
“A cancer diagnosis in rural and regional Australia is unfortunately associated with poorer survival rates and lower quality of life when compared to metropolitan areas,” Prof Dunn said.
“This is concerning, considering that 30 per cent of all Australians live outside a major population centre. “This geographical disparity is potentially due to a range of access, socio-demographic, behavioural and cultural factors, unique to non-metropolitan Australians, which exacerbate the challenges associated with living with and treating cancer – but more research needs to be done.
Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said closing the gap in regional survival was core to Cancer Council’s mission and key to cancer control in Queensland.
“We are proud to partner with USQ to investigate ways of bridging the health divide by connecting with regional cancer patients,” Ms McMillan said.
“It has long been established that cancer patients living in outer regional areas are more likely to die within five years of a diagnosis than those living in cities.
“More than 27,000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with cancer each year and 8700 die from the disease.
RURAL WORRY: Cancer Council Queensland CEO Chris McMillan.