Cancer in our region

Loddon Mallee region

The Loddon Mallee region (LMR) is the region in Victoria covered by 10 Local Government Areas (LGAs). These LGAs are Buloke Shire, Campaspe Shire, Central Goldfields Shire, Gannawarra Shire, City of Greater Bendigo, Loddon Shire, Macedon Ranges Shire, Rural City of Mildura, Mount Alexander Shire, and Rural City of Swan Hill.

LMR covers about 25% of Victoria and, in 2011, had an estimated resident population of about 308,782 persons which is about 5.5% of the population of the state. Figure 1 is a map of LMR and the health services in the region. For comparison, the area of LMR is approximately 90% of the area of mainland Tasmania.

key-health-services-loddon-mallee-area

 Key health services in Loddon Mallee region

 What is cancer?

Cancer refers to a group of diseases classified as neoplasms in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10-AM). This classification is the definitive classification of diseases. For example, there is no disease in ICD-10-AM known as “bowel cancer”. The generic term “bowel cancer” refers to a group of diseases listed in the classification. When making comparisons of incidence data from different sources, one should check the precise meaning of such generic terms. In this paper, the term “cancer” to refers to all primary tumours that are invasive or malignant.

Cancer in LMR

The incidence of cancer in LMR is increasing over time. In 2012 we passed the 2000 mark in LMR for the first time; see Figure 5. Note that the number of newly diagnosed cases is higher for men than for women, even though women outnumber men in our region. Second, there is a clear upward trend in the incidence. However, the incidence does not necessarily increase from one year to the next. The lesson here is that one should not base an estimate of next year’s data on just the last year’s data: one should consider the overall trend. Finally we should realise that there can be many causes of the incidence increasing. For example, a public health campaign that encourages more people to be tested for a particular cancer will tend to motivate people to be tested and consequently the incidence of the disease will increase. 

incidence-cancer-loddon-mallee-region2

The pattern of new cases of cancer, by tumour stream, in LMR is similar to the patterns across the state. Table 1 contains the number of newly diagnosed cases by tumour stream in LMR in 2012. 

incidence-cancer-by-tumour-stream2

If one compares the distribution of incidence by tumour stream in LMR with that of Victoria, then there is no significant difference between the two regions (chi2 = 14.1707, df = 10, p= 0.17). In other words, the pattern of new cases by tumour streams in LMR is similar to that in the state.

Dictionary of cancer statistics

Loddon Mallee Town and Community Profiles

See more about the the Loddon Mallee Town and Community Profiles.