14 September 2017
Public concerns are commonly expressed about widening health gaps. This cohort study examines variations and trends in cancer survival by socio-economic disadvantage, geographical remoteness and country of birth in an Australian population over a 30-year period.
Data for cases diagnosed in New South Wales (NSW) in 1980–2008 ( n = 651,245) were extracted from the population-based NSW Cancer Registry. Competing risk regression models, using the Fine & Gray method, were used for comparative analyses to estimate sub-hazard ratios (SHR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) among people diagnosed with cancer.
Increased risk of cancer death was associated with living in the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas compared with the least disadvantaged areas (SHR 1.15, 95% CI 1.13–1.17), and in outer regional/remote areas compared with major cities (SHR 1.05, 95% CI 1.03–1.06). People born outside Australia had a similar or lower risk of cancer death than Australian-born (SHR 0.99, 95% CI 0.98–1.01 and SHR 0.91, 95% CI 0.90–0.92 for people born in other English and non-English speaking countries, respectively). An increasing comparative risk of cancer death was observed over time when comparing the most with the least socio-economically disadvantaged areas (SHR 1.07, 95% CI 1.04–1.10 for 1980–1989; SHR 1.14, 95% CI 1.12–1.17 for 1990–1999; and SHR 1.24, 95% CI 1.21–1.27 for 2000–2008; p < 0.001 for interaction between disadvantage quintile and year of diagnosis).