Differences in cancer incidence by age at diagnosis between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people for cancer types included in Australian national screening programs

Currently, age has been the main demographic factor used for targeting Australian screening programs. There is a gap in the consideration of other factors such as socio-economic and ethnicity when targeting screening programs. This study examined age distributions and age-specific incidence of invasive breast, cervical, and bowel cancers by Aboriginal status to consider appropriateness of current screening target age ranges. Aboriginal people were younger at diagnosis with higher proportions of breast and bowel cancers diagnosed before the screening target age range (< 50 years) compared with non-Aboriginal people. All age-specific cervical cancer incidence rate ratios were also higher for Aboriginal compared with non-Aboriginal people. Overall the authors suggest that there is potential to increase screening coverage to lower the burden of breast and bowel cancer in Aboriginal people by commencing screening earlier. Further research is needed to establish the benefits, harms, and cost-effectiveness. Read the full article.
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