Cancer killing our kids
Young Territorians dying from disease at higher rate
TERRITORY young people have the lowest rate of cancer in the nation – but teens and young adults in the NT are more likely to die from the disease than those living in most other states and territories, new research shows.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia report released today, 195.1 in 1 million Territorians aged 15-24 were diagnosed with cancer from 2009-13.
This is well below the national cancer rate of 310.4 in 1 million young people.
By comparison, 50.7 in 1 million Territorians aged 15-24 died from cancer – much higher than the national mortality rate of 32 in 1 million. Overall, the NT has the second-highest cancer mortality rate in Australia.
Cancer Council NT chief executive Kathleen Cole said the NT’s higher mortality rates were continuing.
“Common health dispartites caused by our remoteness and lower socio-economic status of Territorians impact on our young as well as adults,” she said. “This highlights our need for more education and awareness to minimise controllable risks of cancer – such as smoking, nutrition, physical activity and sun protection – as some other factors are not controllable.”
AIHW researchers found people who lived in remote areas of Australia were often disadvantaged in access to primary healthcare services, educational and employment opportunities, and income.
“They are also more likely to have higher rates of risky health behaviours, such as smoking, heavy alcohol use, and poor nutrition,” the study found.
From 2010-14, more than 4800 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in young Australians – an average of two to three diagnoses every day.
The report shows more young Australians are being diagnosed with cancer than ever, but mortality rates are dropping. AIHW spokesman Justin Harvey said 89 per cent of young people survived five years past their cancer diagnosis in 2010-14, up from 80 per cent in 1985-89.
“The good news is that cancer survival has improved for young people,” he said.