Richer people more likely to get certain cancers

Monday, December 20, 2010
Image: Getty
People living in wealthy suburbs are more likely to get certain types of cancer than those in disadvantaged areas, a new study has found.

Richer people were more likely to get breast, prostate and skin cancer, and poorer people were more likely to suffer bowel, cervical and lung cancers, according to The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

They found only 35 people diagnosed with lung cancer per 100,000 in high socio-economic areas compared to 50 in 100,000 in poorer neighbourhoods.

This is mainly due to higher rates of smoking in poorer areas combines with lower rates of testing for cancer, The Age reports.

For breast cancer, poorer areas were better off with only 106 people per 100,000 afflicted compared to 122 per 100,000 in richer areas.

For skin cancer the rate was 42 per 100,000 for people in low socio-economic areas compared to 52 per 100,000 in wealthier suburbs.

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Prostate cancer affected 160 people per 100,000 in poorer areas compared to 185 per 100,000 in wealthier areas.

Bowel cancer rates were not greatly different while the numbers for cervical cancer only varied by two points with those living in wealthier areas less likely to suffer disease.

The report also found that although the cancer rates had increased over the past 26 years, the number of cancer deaths had fallen.

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