New Garvan report highlights poor cancer outcomes in rural Australia

The further a cancer patient lives from a major city, the more likely they are to die within five years of diagnosis
Media Release: 26 October 2016

Today marks the official release of the new Garvan Rural Health Report titled ‘A Rural Perspective: Cancer and Medical Research’.

Launching at the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) 2016 National Congress in Canberra, this new adjunct report (following last year’s inaugural Garvan Rural Health Report), firmly places the spotlight on one of the federal government’s National Health Priority Areas, cancer.

The new report provides Australians, rural stakeholders and policy makers with a consolidation of data into the incidence and impact of cancer in rural Australia. It offers an insight into how our understanding and treatment of cancer can be transformed and the role medical research can play.

‘A Rural Perspective: Cancer and Medical Research’ paints an alarming picture of cancer incidence and mortality rates in rural Australia. It supports evidence that generally, improvements that are being experienced in major cities are not being seen in the rural context.

The report:

  • confirms that the further a cancer patient lives from a major city, the more likely they are to die within five years of diagnosis;
  • delves into the higher prevalence of cancer risk factors in rural areas of Australia;
  • highlights the smaller proportion of oncologists, specialists and associated health providers available to patients in rural areas, and the impact this has on treatment outcomes.

Garvan Research Foundation CEO, Mr Andrew Giles said, “The NFF 2016 National Congress provides an opportunity to continue the rural health discussion with a focus on the incidence and impact cancer has in rural and regional communities.  Human health is taking a place on the NFF congress agenda for the first time, and we are proud to be facilitating that discussion.”

Mr Giles adds, “I believe that the urban and rural health gap is unacceptable.  If we don’t act now, it will continue to grow.  The ongoing challenge is to ensure that innovation in medicine is equaled by innovative policies that increase access to discovery so that all Australians can claim their share of the benefit. I truly believe this health gap can be closed. 

“The report provides a clear outlook on a way forward in starting to rectify some of these major health issues by considering the role medical research can play in the health of all Australians.  My hope is that this report highlights the urgent need for greater focus and spurs policy makers into action to provide a coordinated, nationwide focus on addressing this area of significant need.  Medical research is critical in order to address the shortfalls in our knowledge and improve outcomes particularly for rural patients,” said Mr Giles.

Download a free copy of the report here

The inaugural report, ‘Medical Research And Rural Health – Garvan Report 2015’ can also be viewed here.