Where you live may determine if you survive cancer

Rural living has its perks. The fresh air, the lack of light pollution not blanking out the beautiful night sky,

Rural living has its perks. The fresh air, the lack of light pollution not blanking out the beautiful night sky, and even small town living. When it comes to your health, though, there are some pitfalls.

A new report finds that those diagnosed with cancer while living in rural areas have bigger chances of succumbing to the illness than their city-dwelling counterparts. The report was published by the Garvan Institute of Medical Research found that the survival and recover rate gap between people who live in remote areas as opposed to those in the city is getting bigger.

Andrew Giles from the Garvan Research Foundation told The Australian, “When it comes to cancer incidence and mortality rates in rural Australia, we are generally not seeing the improvements (in survival rates) experienced in major cities”. Mr Giles continued ““Incidence and mortality rates for cancer in rural Australia are dire; if we don’t act now the gap will only continue to grow.”

The statistics in the report show that people diagnosed with cancer in rural areas are seven times more likely to die within five years of the cancer being discovered. That adds a potentially 9000 deaths over a ten year period.

Reasons for the higher rate is down to a few select reasons; there is a slower rate of cancer detection in remote areas, people tend not to see the doctor as often and that there are 80 per cent fewer specialists in these areas.

Skin cancer is a lot more prevalent in the rural areas as well due to more people working outside for long period. People living in the country are 60 per cent more likely to develop a potentially deadly melanoma than those who live and work in the city.



  1. Mary Heffernan  

    What does “surviving cancer” mean, anyway? When I had breast cancer some years ago, I went to a talk by Ian Gawler, the cancer guru. Someone in the audience asked him, “How do you know when you’re free of cancer?” and Ian replied, “When you die of something else”. Black humour, I know, but true, nonetheless.

  2. Pamela  

    I lived in regional NSW and wanted a biopsy for what I thought was cancer.

    3 specialists, 5 GPs and 8 months later I finally got it – and yes, I was right.

    Not willing to risk further treatment in that town, I moved to a friend in Newcastle. After 14 1/2 hours operation at John Hunter Hospital and 30 sessions of radiotherapy at Calvary Mater, I’m still here, surviving!

    Would be 6 feet under if I had stayed.

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