Differences in cancer survival by remoteness of residence: an analysis of data from a population-based cancer registry.

Cancer survival is generally lower for rural compared with urban residents, but findings have been inconsistent. We aimed to assess inequalities in cancer survival by remoteness of residence in Victoria, Australia.

Incident cancer cases diagnosed in 2001-2015 with 30 cancer types (n = 331,302) were identified through the Victorian Cancer Registry and followed to the end of 2015 through death registries. Five-year net survival was estimated using the Pohar-Perme method and differences assessed by excess mortality rate ratios (EMRRs) using Poisson regression, adjusting for sex, age and year of diagnosis. EMRRs adjusted for socio-economic disadvantage were also estimated.

People living outside major cities had lower survival for 11 cancers: esophagus, stomach, colorectum, liver, gallbladder/biliary tract, pancreas, lung, connective/soft tissue, ovary, prostate, kidney. No differences in survival were found for cancers of uterus, small intestine and mesothelioma. After adjusting for socio-economic disadvantage, the observed differences in survival decreased for most cancers and disappeared for colorectal cancer, but they remained largely unchanged for cancers of esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, lung, connective/soft tissue, ovary and kidney.

People with cancer residing outside major cities had lower survival from some cancers, which is partly due to the greater socio-economic disadvantage of rural residents.

Cancer causes & control : CCC. 2020 Apr 30 [Epub ahead of print]

Nina Afshar, Dallas R English, James A Chamberlain, Tony Blakely, Vicky Thursfield, Helen Farrugia, Graham G Giles, Roger L Milne

Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, 615 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia. ., Cancer Epidemiology Division, Cancer Council Victoria, 615 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia., Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, 207 Bouverie Street, Carlton, VIC, 3010, Australia., Victorian Cancer Registry, Cancer Council Victoria, 615 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC, 3004, Australia.