Anti-Poverty Week: Let’s improve cancer outcomes for everyone

Posted 19 Oct 2018.


Anti-Poverty Week aims to increase awareness and strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and encourage research, discussion and action to address it.

In 2014, 13% of the Australian population were living below the poverty line. That's over 730,000 children missing out on necessities and excluded from basic opportunities.

The socioeconomic, cultural and environmental conditions, in which people are born, live and work is the single most important determinant of good or bad health. In fact, poor health is often a consequence of poverty - this includes an increased risk of cancer.

Today, we're faced with multiple cancer inequalities by socioeconomic and geographical differences. The mortality rate for all cancers combined is highest among those living in the lowest socioeconomic group and in the most remote areas of the country.

People in these groups are less likely to receive health promotion messages and are more likely to face barriers in accessing health care, resulting in poorer cancer outcomes.


What are we doing to reduce health inequalities in WA?

Closing the Gap

Shockingly, cancer death rates are 30% higher for Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians. In some remote areas, the rate is as high as 65%. This is a statistic we're determined to change.

In November 2016, we launched our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to outline our commitment to closing the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cancer outcomes.

We have also developed a range of cancer-related resources and publications designed specifically for Aboriginal Australians. Visit our publications for Aboriginal people page to learn more.


Shifting the burden of tobacco-related disease from disadvantaged groups

The often, uncontrollable socioeconomic, cultural and environmental conditions that people live and work in, can influence people's health behaviour both positively and negatively.

Often it is the social environment (i.e. low levels of education, access to stable employment, housing etc.) that leads to the behaviour (i.e. smoking) which causes the problem (i.e. death, disease and financial stress). This means that the circumstances that people face make it more likely that they will take up smoking and face more barriers to quitting.

As a result, it is the most socially and financially disadvantaged members of our community that carry a larger burden of tobacco-related disease, death and financial stress. Conversely, when people have access to stable accommodation, healthcare, education and employment they are less likely to take up risky lifestyle behaviours like tobacco smoking.


We recognise that people experiencing social and financial disadvantages who smoke may face additional barriers to quitting and therefore, may require additional support to live healthy smoke free lives. That's why we're partnering with community service organisations, to ensure that we provide appropriate support for those that need it most.

We know that people experiencing social and financial disadvantage are less likely to be asked about their smoking, and offered support to reduce and quit from health and other service providers. In partnership with community service organisations, we're working to change this! Visit our Make Smoking History website for more information about our work in this area.


Cancer Support Services

Dealing with cancer can present significant financial, practical and sometimes legal challenges. We provide a range of services to help ease the financial burden associated with cancer and provide practical assistance to West Australians when they need it the most.

In the last year we provided 447 patients with pro bono legal, financial and workplace advice, 209 patients or their carers with services from our practical support program (this includes things like cleaning and childcare) provided 1,921 wigs, turbans, hat and scarves to 409 patients at no cost, accommodated 5,305 country cancer patients at our Crawford and Milroy Lodges in Perth and provided 5,289 free transport to treatment trips.

For more information visit our support services page or contact our Cancer Nurses by calling 13 11 20.


Found in:  News - 2018 | View all news