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  • Improved indigenous cancer programs needed

    Author: AAP

A study which has found a higher rate of preventable cancers in some indigenous groups has prompted calls for better targeted prevention.

Indigenous people in four high income countries, including Australia, have higher rates of potentially preventable cancers than the non-indigenous populations.

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They include lung and cervical cancer, and their high incidence has prompted a call for better health surveillance and targeted prevention, early detection and vaccination programs.

The study, published in The Lancet Oncology, is the first to look at the scale and profile of cancer in indigenous peoples of the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

They have disproportionally worse health and lower life expectancy than their non-indigenous counterparts, the authors note.


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St Vincent's Hospital
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SA Health, Flinders & Upper North Local Health Network

Led by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the study found Maori have higher rates of many cancers compared to non-indigenous New Zealanders.

But this trend is not seen in the indigenous populations of the other countries.

The most commonly occurring cancers among all the indigenous men were lung, prostate, and colorectal cancer.

Among indigenous women, they were breast, lung and colorectal cancer.

For more article on aboriginal health, click here. 

The researchers particularly noted that lung cancer among indigenous men in Western Australia was 44 per cent cent higher, and in Maori 155 per cent higher than in non-indigenous men.

Smoking, a major risk factor for various cancers including lung, appeared to be highly prevalent in the four indigenous communities, said lead author Dr Freddie Bray.

"Our findings highlight the need for much improved targeted programs of screening, vaccination, and smoking cessation, among other prevention strategies," the authors said.

They also called on governments and researchers to work with indigenous communities to improve cancer surveillance, in response to substantial shortcomings in available data.


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