Much higher risk of cancer in deprived areas, report warns
Much higher risk of cancer in deprived areas, report warns

Much higher risk of cancer in deprived areas, report warns

That is just one of the statistics in a report by the National Cancer Registry, to be published today, which outlines how age, economic status, and where people live impacts on how cancer will affect them.

The report, which focuses on the patients diagnosed with cancer in 2008-12, looks at how these factors impact the risk of developing and surviving cancer as well as the stage at which it is detected and the associated health conditions.

It found that cancer rates were around 10% higher for people who live in urban rather than rural areas.

There was also a higher incidence of cancer in the most deprived portion of the population.

In this category incidents of cervical cancer were 120% higher among people experiencing deprivation, lung cancer rates were 60% higher and stomach cancer was 40% higher.

The research also found poorer survival of patients from the most deprived populations with patients from this group about 40% more likely to die from their cancer within five years of diagnosis compared with those from the least deprived group.

Older patients too also experienced poorer survival rates.

The National Cancer Registry said the findings in the report point to striking inequalities, which need to be targeted for improvement.

National Cancer Registry Director Dr Harry Comer described as “significant” the gap in survival rates for people diagnosed with cancer who are older and living in deprived areas than those from more affluent areas.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said the statistics were not peculiar to Ireland and are seen across the developing world. He said it was a very complex issue and that it is hard to understand why the differences exist.

He said the rate of heart and respiratory disease were also prevalent in deprived areas, as well as in older people.

Dr Comer said the study also found that people who were older came to the health services later with their cancers and that access to treatment does not seem to be a major factor.

“The thing is that other research has shown that there are also barriers just in terms of people’s own help-seeking behaviour.

“Some people delay much longer than others in going to their GP in acting on suspicious symptoms. And even in Ireland where we have rapid access clinics now, we still see these differentials.

“So it’s not purely a matter of access”, he said.


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