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Awareness weeks guide

World Cancer Day

World cancer day - Close the Care Gap

4 February 2024

Half the world’s population lacks access to the full range of essential health services. When it comes to cancer, many of us are denied basic care, despite the fact that we live in a time of awe-inspiring advancements in cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment. This is the equity gap – and it’s costing lives. People who seek cancer care hit barriers at every turn. Income, education, geographical location and discrimination based on ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability and lifestyle are just a few of the factors that can negatively affect care. The most disadvantaged groups are also more likely to have increased exposures to a host of other risk factors, like tobacco, unhealthy diet or environmental hazards.  The gap affects everyone. You might feel like the equity gap doesn’t impact you personally, but it likely does affect someone you know. While it’s more pronounced in low- and middle-income countries, well-resourced countries show dramatic disparities too. It’s almost guaranteed that the gap affects you or people in your community. We can close the gap. The reality today is that who you are and where you live could mean the difference between life and death. It isn’t fair. But we can change this. World cancer day


Breast cancer

Gynecological cancers


Prostate cancer

UpToDate pathways

Cochrane Library



Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders

Consumer engagement










Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Understanding the needs and preferences for cancer care among First Nations people: An integrative review
Most participants represented in this review experienced discrimination, racism and trauma, resulting from colonization, which directly negatively impacted Aboriginal peoples' cancer care experience. While the Optimal Cancer Pathway (OCP) was launched in Australia several years ago, people with cancer may continue to experience distressing unmet care needs. Journal of advanced nursing 28 November 2023

Gynaecological cancer resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: A resource audit
This study highlighted a need for the development of resources relating to a wider range of gynaecological cancer types and different stages of the cancer care continuum for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. Health promotion journal of Australia 26 October 2023

Colorectal cancer screening participation in First Nations populations worldwide: A systematic review and data synthesis
Colorectal cancer (CRC) screening participation rates for First Nations populations are low worldwide. Despite First Nations populations being recognised as high-priority, vulnerable population, data are lacking both in coverage and quality to adequately inform interventions to improve CRC outcomes for First Nations peoples. Disaggregation of data is required to better understand First Nations CRC outcome inequities. Lancet 4 December 2023 


Consumer engagement

The use of patient reported outcome measures in oncology clinical practice across Australia and New Zealand
PROM use across Australia and New Zealand seems variable and occurring predominantly in larger metropolitan centres with limited standardisation of approach and implementation. A greater focus on equitable adoption of PROMs in diverse cancer care settings is urgently needed. Journal of patient-reported outcomes 2 January 2024

Effectiveness of routine provision of feedback from patient‐reported outcome measurements for cancer care improvement: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Although the authors found evidence to support the intervention for highly relevant outcomes, our conclusions are tempered by the high risk of bias relating mainly to intervention design. PROM feedback for oncology patients may improve processes and outcomes for cancer patients but more high-quality evidence is required. Journal of patient-reported outcomes 5 june 2023

Electronic patient-reported outcomes (e-PROMs) in palliative cancer care: a scoping review
This work shows that electronic patient-reported outcome (PRO) data assessment provides valuable tools for patients’ well-being and the management of symptoms; only one study reported conflicting results. However, with studies lacking on how clinicians can use these tools to improve communication with patients, more research is needed. Journal of patient-reported outcomes 23 September 2022

Cancer survivors’ experiences of navigating the Australian health care system for physical and mental health care needs
There appear to be some inequities in the experiences of cancer survivors, particularly in accessing care. Improving the experiences of health care for physical and mental health cancer survivors should focus on increasing access to and improving the management of services, specifically allied health, through a variety of avenues, including reducing costs, increasing transport, and providing closer and more co-located services. International journal of environmental research and public health 23 February 2023



Individual and area level factors associated with the breast cancer diagnostic-treatment interval in Queensland, Australia
Whilst this study identified several individual- and area-level factors associated with the time between breast cancer diagnosis and first treatment, much of the variation remained unexplained. Increased socioeconomic disadvantage appears to predict longer diagnostic-treatment intervals. Though some of the differences are small, many of the same factors have also been linked to screening and diagnostic delay. Given the potential for accumulation of delay at multiple stages along the diagnostic and treatment pathway, identifying and applying effective strategies address barriers to timely health care faced by socioeconomically disadvantaged women remains a priority. Breast cancer research and treatment 6 November 2023

Uptake of invitations to a lung health check offering low-dose CT lung cancer screening among an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse population at risk of lung cancer in the UK (SUMMIT): a prospective, longitudinal cohort study
Inviting eligible adults for lung health checks in areas of socioeconomic and ethnic diversity should achieve favourable participation in lung cancer screening overall, but inequalities by smoking, deprivation, and ethnicity persist. Reminder and re-invitation strategies should be used to increase uptake and the equity of response. The Lancet public health 1 February 2023

The acceptability of, and informational needs related to, self-collection cervical screening among women of Indian descent living in Victoria, Australia: A qualitative study
Self-collection was highly acceptable among women of Indian descent, particularly when assured of its accuracy, and sociocultural norms and previous screening experiences are considered. This study highlights the huge potential that self-collection can play in increasing equity in Australia's cervical screening programme. Health expectations 7 January 2024

The ‘hot zone policy’ for colorectal cancer screening presents unique risks and opportunities for rural Australia
Colorectal cancer has geographic inequities in Australia, with higher mortality rates and lower participation in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program (NBCSP) in remote and rural areas. The at-home kit is temperature-sensitive, necessitating a ‘hot zone policy’ (HZP); kits are not sent when an area's average monthly temperature is above 30°C. Australians in HZP areas are susceptible to potential screening disruptions but may benefit from well-timed interventions to improve participation. This study describes the demographics of HZP areas and estimates the impacts of potential screening changes. The Australian journal of rural health 13 March 2023



Improving access to cancer clinical trials for patients from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in Australia: A survey of clinical and research professionals
This study articulates the Australian clinical trials workforce's perspective on current barriers and potential solutions to the under-representation of patients from CALD backgrounds on cancer clinical trials. The insights and solutions from this survey provide steps toward achieving equity in Australian cancer clinical trials. JCO oncology practice 7 September 2023

Global patterns and temporal trends in ovarian cancer morbidity, mortality, and burden from 1990 to 2019
The trend of Ovarian cancer (OC) incidence and burden and approximate mortality were stable from 1990 to 2019; especially in lower socioeconomic areas and low-income countries; while the incidence age-standardized rate (ASR) of this cancer in the high sociodemographic index (SDI) regions decreased from 1990 to 2019. The key to reducing OC remains in primary prevention. Approaches such as weight loss, a healthy lifestyle and diet, promoting childbearing and breastfeeding, and recommending the use of oral contraceptives in eligible individuals can have a protective effect against this silent killer. Oncologie 13 November 2023

Availability and accessibility of services to address financial toxicity described by Australian lung cancer patients and healthcare professionals
Available and accessibility of services addressing financial toxicity in Australian lung cancer patients is inadequate. Although financial stress is a common, distressing problem, health professionals feel hampered in their ability to help due to limited service availability. Left unaddressed, financial toxicity can impact treatment adherence, directly influencing health outcomes, and increase risk of poverty, amplifying social inequities. Findings highlight opportunity for actionable interventions like financial consent and routine screening and discussion of financial toxicity across care pathways. Supportive care in cancer 2 September 2023

Barriers and facilitators to integrated cancer care between primary and secondary care: a scoping review
Information sharing and communication between primary and secondary care must improve to meet the increasing demand for support for people living with and beyond cancer. Delivering integrated pathways between primary and secondary care will yield improvements in patient outcomes and health economic costs. Supportive care in cancer 22 January 2024

Meeting the needs of rural cancer patients in survivorship: Understanding the role of telehealth
Telehealth has benefits for the delivery of health and supportive services to rural/regional cancer patients and survivors. Nurses can play a key role in assessing the support needs of cancer survivors and facilitating strategies to ensure that survivors have the skills necessary to access telehealth support. The Australian journal of rural health 5 November 2023

Exploring the impact of remoteness on people with head and neck cancer: Utilisation of a state-wide dataset

  • This is the first comprehensive state-wide analysis showing statistically significant differences by rurality in Queensland for people with head and neck cancer (HNC).
  • The results highlight the need to directly link the care pathway between the metropolitan treating team with care closer to home and to better understand the care needs and treatment access journeys of people with HNC from rural areas in order to minimise the disparities observed.
  • The readmission data suggests the need for greater allied health supports such as dietetics and speech pathology to better manage the post-acute phase of recovery to potentially minimise readmission rates and improve the experience of recovery.

The Australian journal of rural health 6 June 2023

Trends and projections of cause-specific premature mortality in Australia to 2044: a statistical modelling study
Despite continuously declining overall premature mortality rates, the total number of premature deaths in Australia is projected to remain substantial, and cancer will continue to be the leading cause. These projections can inform the targeting of public health efforts and can serve as benchmarks against which to measure the impact of future interventions. They emphasise the ongoing importance of accelerating the prevention, early detection, and treatment of key health conditions. The Lancet regional health western pacific 5 January 2024

Registry-derived stage (RD-Stage) for capturing stage at diagnosis for pancreatic carcinoma in Australia
There is a lack of standardisation of data elements and data sources available to cancer registries at a national level, resulting in poor capacity to currently capture Registry-derived stage (RD-Stage) (pancreatic carcinoma). RD-Stage provides an excellent tool to cancer registries to capture stage when data elements required to calculate it are available to cancer registries. Plos one 2 January 2024



Inequalities in cancer outcomes by Indigenous status and socioeconomic quintile: An integrative review
At the time of conducting this review, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people living in the most disadvantaged areas were 39% and 33% more likely to die from cancer, respectively. The disparity in cancer mortality among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has widened by 82 deaths per 100,000 persons in the past 20-years. Cancer outcomes were influenced by the presence of comorbidities, stage at diagnosis, and participation in national screening programs and diagnostic services, and treatment received.  Cancer Council 21 July 2020

Cancer data in Australia
This report provides cancer statistics and data visualisations to inform understandings of cancer in Australia and how rates have been changing over time. The report includes statistics on cancer prevalence, survival, incidence, mortality and risk for many different cancers. AIHW 31 August 2023

Rural and remote health
Around 7 million people – or 28% of the Australian population – live in rural and remote areas, which encompass many diverse locations and communities (ABS 2022e). These Australians face unique challenges due to their geographic location and often have poorer health outcomes than people living in metropolitan areas. Data show that people living in rural and remote areas have higher rates of hospitalisations, deaths, injury and also have poorer access to, and use of, primary health care services, than people living in Major cities. AIHW 11  September 2023

Optimal care pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer
The Optimal care pathway for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer has been developed with the aim of reducing disparities and improving outcomes and experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with cancer. Cancer Australia 2023



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