New blood cancer report's concerning findings for regions
A FIRST-of-its-kind nationwide report commissioned by the Leukaemia Foundation has revealed treatment inconsistencies for blood cancer patients living in regional areas compared with their city counterparts.
The Leukaemia Foundation marked the start of Blood Cancer Awareness Month by releasing the State of the Nation: Blood Cancer in Australia report, which identifies the size, scale and impact of blood cancer.
The report also reveals the challenges influencing survival and quality of life for the 41 per cent of blood cancer patients living in regional areas.
It found there were 612 people living with blood cancer in the Central Queensland and Sunshine Coast Primary Health Network areas.
Leukaemia Foundation chief executive Bill Petch said blood cancer had been underestimated and under-reported.
Mr Petch said the report clearly showed the lived experience of blood cancer patients in regional areas could be vastly different to that of patients living in metro areas, from diagnosis through treatment, which was impacting their survivability.
"The report reveals by removing treatment inconsistencies between regional and metro areas, we could achieve a 5per cent difference in survival between people living in regional and metro areas of our country by 2035 and this means saving the lives of more regional blood cancer patients," Mr Petch said.
Mr Petch said regional patients weren't receiving crucial care in the time they needed it.
"The findings show that more than 51 per cent of regional blood cancer patients are more likely to wait over a month to see a haematologist after presenting to a GP - including patients with acute blood cancers who require treatment to start within 24 hours of diagnosis," he said.
Since the release of the report, Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced the development of a national Blood Cancer Taskforce and has charged the Leukaemia Foundation with delivering Australia's first National Strategic Plan for Blood Cancer.