We are dying because we don't live in major cities: report

NEARLY one regional Queenslander will die every day because they live outside a major city.

It is a tragic statistic that has prompted a new partnership between Cancer Council Queensland and the University of Southern Queensland.

Cancer Council Queensland research has revealed that about 350 regional people pass away each year because of the city-country health divide.

In an effort to bridge the gap, Cancer Council Queensland and USQ have launched a collaboration working within USQ's Institute for Resilient Regions.

Next week they will host the first forum of its kind to address the disparity.

The forum and associated activities will include an event in Toowoomba on Tuesday, July 11 from 1.30pm - 5pm, followed by a public lecture from 5pm - 6.30pm at City Golf Club.

The public lecture, presented by visiting international speakers, Heather Bryant and Anil D'Cruz, will highlight how the community can work together to address inequalities in cancer outcomes in regional communities.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan urged all members of the community to attend. 

"Closing the gap in regional survival is core to Cancer Council's mission and key to cancer control in Queensland," she said.

"We are proud to partner with USQ to investigate ways of bridging the health divide by connecting with regional communities and world experts.

"It has long been established that cancer patients living in outer regional areas are more likely to die within five years of a diagnosis than those living in cities.

"Our research estimates 13% of all regional cancer deaths are preventable, with about 350 deaths avoidable each year if survival rates in the bush were equal to those in the city.

"We invite the community to join with us to discuss how we can achieve better health and lifestyles in regional communities, reducing the causes, incidence and impacts of cancer."

The forum will be held in conjunction with Resilient Regions Week, with programs held across Toowoomba, Ipswich and Springfield from July 10 to 14.

Executive director of USQ's Institute for Resilient Regions John Cole said the week of events would drive discussions around closing the health and wellbeing gap.

"Through our research initiatives, our goal is to lead and deliver applied research that enables resilient regions and communities to maintain good health and wellbeing," he said.

"I invite professionals and community members with an interest in promoting equity in regional health to join us at Resilient Regions Week and be inspired by the possibility of working collaboratively with others to make regional communities stronger and more resilient."

The forums will bring together international research experts, health professionals and key regional stakeholders to discuss the challenges and opportunities for bridging the urban and regional divide in Australia, and promote better health and wellbeing.

To RSVP for the public health forum or lecture, click here.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or 13 11 20.



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