People residing in wealthy areas are more likely to get certain types of cancer than those living in poorer zones, according to a report by Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
The report revealed that richer people were more likely to get breast, prostate and skin cancer, and poorer people were more likely to suffer bowel, cervical and lung cancers, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
There was a large difference in lung cancer incidence, with about 35 per 100,000 people being diagnosed in high socio-economic areas compared to about 50 in 100,000 in low socio-economic districts.
For breast cancer, the rate was 106 per 100,000 people in low socio-economic areas compared to about 122 per 100,000 in high socio-economic areas.
For skin cancer, the rate was 42 per 100,000 people in low socio-economic areas and 52 per 100,000 in high socio-economic areas.
With prostate cancer, it was 160 per 100,000 in low socio-economic areas compared to 185 per 100,000 in high socio-economic areas, and for cervical cancer, it was 8 per 100,000 in low socio-economic areas and 6 per 100,000 in high socio-economic areas.
Paul Grogan, the director of advocacy at the Cancer Council Australia, said higher cancer rates in poor areas were not surprising, given higher rates of smoking among disadvantaged groups and lower rates of screening for cancers.
For the wealthier areas, Grogan said breast cancer had long been called a "wealthy woman's disease" because it tended to strike those who lived longer and were therefore more privileged.
Those who either delayed pregnancy or did not have children were also at slightly greater risk and tended to fall into the wealthier groups in society, he said.
Grogan said the higher rate of prostate cancer was partly explained by the longer life span for wealthier people, and he said the skin cancer rate was probably a result of the intense exposure to UV rays that people experience if they generally work indoors, but enjoy leisurely activities in short bursts.
Such exposure is known to increase one's risk of melanoma, he said.