NACCHO health news: New research on cancer among Indigenous children

Cancer art

FACTS

  • Overall, Indigenous children were 36% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non-Indigenous children

  • There was not much difference between the mortality rates of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children

The first ever study of the national patterns of incidence and death rates for cancers diagnosed amongst Indigenous children has been undertaken to help understand and reduce the risk and impact of cancer in Indigenous youth.

The study was led by the Menzies School for Health Research’s Associate Professor, Patricia Valery in collaboration with the Australian Paediatric Cancer Registry.

The study entitled, Cancer Incidence and Mortality in Indigenous Australian Children, 1997–2008, investigated the overall burden of cancer in this population, and where disparities exist, to plan what action is required.

It found:

  • Overall, Indigenous children were 36% less likely to be diagnosed with cancer than non-Indigenous children
  • There was not much difference between the mortality rates of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children

Click here for a lay terms cancer brochure developed to disseminate the study’s findings.

The Brief Report has been published in the latest edition of the Pediatric Blood Cancer Journal.

For interviews:

Associate Professor Patricia Valery is available for comment. She is a senior cancer researcher and Head of Menzies’ Cancer Epidemiology Group.

View her profile

To book an interview contact Richmond Hodgson, 08 8922 8438 or 0408 128 099

Abstract

We report cancer incidence and mortality among Indigenous children in Australia and compare the results with corresponding data for non-Indigenous children.

This information is important in understanding the overall burden of cancer in this population, and where disparities exist, to plan what action is required. Age-standardized rates, and indirectly standardized incidence and mortality ratios (SIRs and SMRs) were calculated for the years 1997–2008.

There were 224 cancers identified among Indigenous children (99.5 per million per year) and 52 Indigenous children died from cancer during the study period (22.9 per million per year). The SIR for all cancers was 0.64 (95% CI = 0.56–0.73; P  < 0.001) while the SMR was 0.81 (95% CI = 0.61–1.07). These results provide a baseline with which to monitor cancer among Indigenous children over time. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2013; 60: 156–158. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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