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Trends in cancer incidence and survival for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the Northern Territory

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The known The incidence of some cancers (breast, bowel, prostate, melanoma) is lower among Indigenous Australians than among other Australians, while others (lung, other smoking-related cancers, cervix, liver) are more common. 

The new In the Northern Territory, these disparities have become less marked since 1991, but to the disadvantage of Indigenous people: the incidence of several formerly lower incidence cancers increased, but that of higher incidence cancers did not decline. 

The implications These changes are consistent with rapid increases in the prevalence of chronic diseases in the NT Indigenous population, with implications for cancer screening and treatment centres with an Indigenous clientele. 

Evidence has accumulated over the past 10 years of large disparities between Indigenous and other Australians in cancer incidence, diagnosis, treatment and outcomes. The incidence of some types of cancer, including breast, prostate and bowel cancers, is lower among Indigenous Australians, but the incidence of several high fatality cancers, including lung, other tobacco-related cancers, and liver cancer, is much higher; further, survival is lower for most types of cancer.1