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Cancer deaths are a major contributor to premature mortality in people with mental health conditions. Some cancers occur more often in people with mental health conditions because of increased risk factors. However, most premature cancer mortality in people with mental health conditions arises from increased cancer case fatality rates due to health care related factors. While there is substantial evidence that a problem exists, further evidence is needed to support effective action and the translation of research findings into better policy, services and care.
Objectives and Approach
The NSW Mental Health Living Longer program involves population-wide data linkage that combines records from nine NSW data collections. Our collection includes over 120 million records for more than nine million people. This presentation focuses on the use of linked data to develop indicators to support reporting on premature breast and cervical cancer mortality for women living with mental illness. These indicators will be used to identify variation in care, assess areas for targeted intervention, and evaluate the effectiveness of research translation into more effective care.
This work is ongoing and will be finalised by August 2020. We will use regression techniques to examine predictors of participation in breast and cervical cancer screening for women who use mental health services in NSW. These results will be used to assess geographical variation in risk-adjusted screening participation rates. We will also present methods and results for measuring incidence and stage at presentation, as well as 5 year survival for women who use mental health services in NSW.
Conclusion / Implications
If cancer survival is a key measure of the effectiveness of healthcare systems, then reduced survival in people with mental health problems reflects less effective health care. Improving screening and treatment services is likely to be the most important strategy for reducing the cancer mortality gap for women with mental illness.
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