Risk factors for cancer in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population: A systematic review Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Cancer incidence in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population is higher and survival lower compared with non-Indigenous Australians. A proportion of these cancers are potentially preventable if factors associated with carcinogenesis are known and successfully avoided. We conducted a systematic review of the published literature to examine risk factors for cancer in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. Electronic databases Medline, Web of Science and the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Bibliographic Index were searched through August 2014 using broad search terms. Studies reporting a measure of association between a risk factor and any cancer site in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population were eligible for inclusion. Ten studies (1991–2014) were identified, mostly with small sample sizes, showing marked heterogeneity in terms of methods used to assess exposure and capture outcomes, and often using descriptive comparative analyses. Relatively young (as opposed to elderly) and geographically remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were found to be at increased risk for selected cancers while most modifiable lifestyle and behavioural risk factors were rarely assessed. Further studies examining associations between potential risk factors and cancer will help define public health policy for cancer prevention in the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.

publication date

  • 2016