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High quality data are the key to understanding inequalities in cancer outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

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A comprehensive evidence base for informing efforts to improve services requires linked national data

The study by Condon and colleagues in this issue of the MJA confirms past reports of the uncertain validity of reported cancer data for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people resulting from poor recording of Indigenous Australian status in source databases.1,2 To improve the evidence base, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has limited analyses of cancer incidence among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to four Australian states and territories — the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia — as their data are regarded as being of better quality.2

This study by Condon et al analysed high quality, validated data on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status from the NT Cancer Registry.1 Their results confirm earlier findings that age-standardised all-cancer incidence rates are slightly lower for Indigenous Australians than for other Australians2,3 — although more recent data suggest negligible differences between the two groups4 — but poorer survival in Indigenous…