Cancer is estimated to account for 6% of the health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the total population. Aboriginal men have a 1.7 times higher burden of disease and Aboriginal women a 1.9 times higher burden of disease due to cancer when compared to the total Australian male and female population respectively.1
Inadequate identification of Indigenous status on cancer registries and in death registers in many jurisdictions means that reported statistics on cancer incidence and mortality are likely to underestimate true rates of cancer. Available statistics on cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people show that while overall cancer incidence may be lower, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a higher incidence of preventable cancers, such as lung, cervical and liver cancer. In addition, due to later diagnosis and poorer access to adequate treatment, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have higher case fatality rates for many cancers compared to the rest of the population.2
- Vos T, Barker B, Stanley L, Lopez AD. The burden of disease and injury in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2003. Brisbane: School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, 2007.
- Cunningham J, Rumbold AR, Zhang X, Condon JR. Incidence, aetiology, and outcomes of cancer in Indigenous peoples in Australia. Lancet Oncology 2008;9(6):585–95.