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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-015-2141-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
FS designed the study, oversaw the study design and participated in drafting the manuscript. EF prepared the manuscript and conducted additional data analysis. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
In 2013, about 32 % of the Australian population over 15 years of age was born overseas. Previous cancer-related immigrant health studies identified differences in mortality and incidence between immigrants and Australian-born people. To identify groups that may require targeted interventions, we describe by region of birth: 1. the highest cancer incidence and mortality rates for NSW residents, Australia’s most populous state; and 2. mortality to incidence ratios (MIR) for all cancers.
Cancer incidence and mortality data were obtained from NSW residents for 2004–2008 (averaged) by sex, region of birth and 10 year age groups. Age standardised incidence and mortality rates were calculated with 95 % confidence intervals (per 100,000), using the world standard population. In the place of 5-year survival rates, we used age standardised MIRs (=M/I) as a simple proxy indicator of cancer survival.
All-cancer incidence only exceeded Australian born people (308.5) for New Zealand born (322). The highest reported incidence rates for cancers from all regions were prostate and breast cancers. All-cancer mortality exceeded Australian-born (105.3) in people born in Western Europe (110.9), Oceania (108.2) and UK and Ireland (106.4). For Australian-born residents, the MIR was 34 cancer deaths per 100 cases compared to residents from Central Europe at 38 deaths per 100 cases and lowest at 28 deaths per 100 cases for residents from Central and Southern Asia.
Some disparities between Australian-born NSW residents and immigrants were identified in prostate, breast and lung cancer mortality rates. While on average most immigrant groups have similar cancer characteristics for the top cancers, areas for improvement to inform strategies to alleviate cancer disparities are required. This analysis suggests that NSW residents could benefit from specific prevention programmes on healthy eating and smoking cessation, especially people from Central Europe, UK and Ireland and Western Europe. Rising immigration rates encourage us to continue to address the areas indicated for improvement.