The socioeconomic gradient in mortality from ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancer in Australian women, 2001–2018: A population-based study
Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Background: Socio-economic (SE) status is closely linked to health status and the mechanisms of this association are complex. One important adverse effect of SE disadvantage is vulnerability to cancer and cancer is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Australia. Aims: We aimed to estimate the effect of SE status on mortality rates from ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancer. Materials and Methods: National mortality data were obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) for the calendar years from 2001 to 2018, inclusive. Individual deaths were grouped by the ABS Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage. Population data were obtained to provided denominators allowing calculation of mortality rates (deaths per 100 000 women aged 30–79 years). Statistical analyses performed included tabulating point-estimates of mortality rates and their changes over time and modelling the trends of rates using maximum likelihood method. Results: Age-standardised mortality rates for ovarian and cervical cancer fell over the study period but increased for endometrial cancer. There was clear evidence of a SE gradient in the mortality rate for all three cancers. This SE gradient increased over the study period for ovarian and cervical cancer but remained unchanged for endometrial cancer. Conclusions: Women at greater SE disadvantage have higher rates of death from the commonest gynaecological cancers and this gradient has not reduced over the last two decades. After the COVID-19 pandemic efforts must be redoubled to ensure that Australians already at risk of ill health do not face even greater risks because of their circumstances.