Women in rural and remote or socioeconomically disadvantaged areas of Australia have a 20% higher risk of dying from ovarian cancer than those in richer, urban areas, according to research in the Medical Journal of Australia.
Dr Susan Jordan from the QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute in Brisbane and a her team analysed medical record information and follow-up data for the 1,192 women who had been diagnosed with invasive ovarian cancer in Australia in 2005.
The overall five year survival was just 35%, and for those who survived for wo years after diagnosis, the probability of living a further five years was only 53%.
Other factors, including socioeconomic disadvantage and regional or remote residence, type of ovarian cancer and co-existing disease were associated with a lower chance of survival.
“Compared with women from relatively socioeconomically advantaged areas, women from relatively disadvantaged areas had a 21% higher risk of dying during [the period of] follow-up,” the researchers write.
“A similar difference was seen for women living in regional–remote areas versus major cities.
“Possible explanations for socioeconomic and geographic differences in ovarian cancer survival include diagnostic delay and poorer access to recommended treatments.
“Further research is needed to determine the relative contribution of these factors.
“[Our findings] emphasise the need for primary and secondary prevention and better treatments for ovarian cancer to improve long-term outcomes.”
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