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Cancer and Indigenous Queenslanders

Researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research have completed the first comprehensive study of cancer occurrence and deaths in Indigenous Queenslanders.

Dr Suzanne Moore from QIMR’s Cancer and Population Studies Group said this is the first study to research Indigenous cancer rates across all of Queensland. “Previously, studies had only taken into account rural Indigenous communities.”

“Using data from the Queensland Cancer Registry, we determined the number of cancer cases and number of cancer deaths from 1997-2006 in the Indigenous Queensland population and compared this to overall figures.”

“Our results showed that Indigenous people were 21% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer than the total Queensland population. In particular, Indigenous Queenslanders had lower rates of colorectal, prostate, breast and skin cancers.”

However, the cases of lung cancers were nearly double, and oesophageal and liver cancers were over twice that of other Queenslanders. Cancers in women, such as cervical and uterine cancers were also over double that of the general Queensland population.

“Alarmingly, despite the lower number of cancer cases, Indigenous people were 36% more likely to die from cancer than the total Queensland population.”

“This is thought to be due to a range of factors, including later diagnosis, less treatment, and higher rates of aggressive cancers.”

The paper was published in Medical Journal of Australia on 15 November 2010 and can be found at