Study set to help close the re­gional can­cer di­vide

Western Times - - NEWS -

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.

PHOTO: FILE

RU­RAL WORRY: Can­cer Coun­cil Queens­land CEO Chris McMil­lan.

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