Does your postcode put you at risk of developing cancer?

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Recent data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reveals your postcode can put you at risk of developing a certain type of cancer. Some of the cancer hot spots in NSW include Nepean Blue Mountains, Murrumbidgee, and Central and Eastern Sydney.

Recorded rates of melanoma for NSW North Coast residents were approximately double that of the national average, with 80 cases per 100,000, compared with only 49 for the entire nation.

In contrast, Western Sydney recorded the lowest rate of melanoma, with 460 cases. South-western Sydney and North Sydney closely followed suit, recording 461 and 477 cases respectively. Importantly, within each primary health network of NSW, certain cancer types were more prevalent, occurring at an above average rate.

Manager of Tobacco Control, Scott Walsberger, Cancer Council NSW explained the data provides compelling insights into how one in three cases of cancer could be prevented through lifestyle modification, citing – “The North Coast has a higher level of melanoma, (it’s) where people spend more time at the beach or doing outdoor activities because of the weather.”

“Breast cancer has been associated with risk factors like HRT, alcohol (and) obesity, plus the North Shore and Eastern suburbs have higher Jewish populations and Jewish women have a higher rate of genetic mutations for breast cancer,” said Mr Walsberger. The higher rates of breast cancer recorded in both Eastern suburbs and North Shore are testimony to such.

The new data reinforces the importance of considering one’s lifestyle behaviours, as modifications made may effectively reduce your risk of developing cancer.