Previous studies have shown poorer survival outcomes for cancer patients living in remote areas of Australia compared with major cities and inner regional areas. The purpose of this study was to better understand what might be contributing to these poorer outcomes.

Results indicated that, between 1998 and 2010, breast cancer patients in remote areas of Australia were more likely to be:

  • of lower socio-economic status
  • diagnosed in earlier periods when survivals were lower (i.e. the odds of residing outside a major city decreased over time and survivals improved over time)
  • treated at inner regional or remote centres, rather than a major city centre
  • treated with mastectomy rather than breast conserving surgery
  • receiving no radiotherapy if they did have breast conserving surgery
  • treated with chemotherapy.

Further monitoring of audit data will show whether recently-funded regional cancer centres increase the use of breast conserving surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy in remote areas.