Background:A quarter of the South Australian population resides outside of metropolitan Adelaide. South Australia has a highly centralised distribution of cancer treatment facilities, with all radiotherapy services and most chemotherapy services provided in metropolitan Adelaide. To guide primary prevention and therapeutic initiatives, Cancer Council SA produced a Cancer Atlas to demonstrate inequalities between metropolitan and country residents of South Australia in cancer risk factors, cancer incidence and outcomes, with particular focus on high-risk groups.
Aim:(1) To outline key observations from the Cancer Atlas and demonstrate the benefit of using combination data from multiple data sources for population assessment; and (2) to report on the data retrieval process for the Cancer Atlas.
Methods:Cancer Council SA partnered with the Public Health Information Development Unit (University of Adelaide) to produce the Cancer Atlas. Multiple data sources were accessed to produce age-standardized rates.
Results:The final report, ‘An Atlas of Cancer in South Australia’, provided an overview of patterns of cancer and cancer risk factors, with a focus on rural and remote communities, residents of areas of socioeconomic disadvantage and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Differences in survival were also presented, including ones requiring immediate attention. The Atlas illustrated the benefit of using data from multiple sources together to highlight inequalities in cancer and cancer risk. Data acquisition for the Atlas was a slow and difficult process. There was good support from many data custodians but also major barriers, including some that proved insurmountable within the two-year project period.
Conclusions:Recommendations were made regarding cancer-control initiatives needed to reduce inequalities, particularly among high risk populations. There is a need to improve data governance arrangements and resourcing to increase access to existing Australian data to guide cancer-control initiatives. When viewed together, data from different sources can provide a better overview of service needs.