Objective: The purpose was to examine the odds of presenting with localised as opposed to more advanced cancer by place of residence to gain evidence for planning early detection initiatives. Methods: Design, settings and participant's cases of invasive cancer reported to the NSW population-based Cancer Registry for the 1980-2008 diagnostic periods. Main outcome measure(s) between 1980 and 2008, 293,848 of reported cases (40.2%), had localised cancer at diagnosis. Logistic regression analysis was undertaken to determine the odds of localised cancer by place of residence for all cancers sites combined while adjusting for age, sex, period of diagnosis, socioeconomic status, migrant status and prognosis (as inferred from cancer type). Results: Multivariate logistic regression analysis indicated that patients from rural areas were less likely than urban patients to present with localised cancer after adjusting for other socio-demographic factors and prognosis by cancer type (regardless of how rurality was classified). The difference ranged from 4% for remote (OR = 0.96, 95% CI 0.95-0.98) to 14% (OR = 0.86, 95% CI 0.79-0.84) for very remote compared with highly accessible areas. It is estimated that a maximum of 4,205 fewer cases of localised cancer occurred in patients from rural areas over the study period than expected from the stage distribution for urban patients. Residents aged between 30 and 74 years of age at diagnosis and those living in high socioeconomic status areas were more likely to present with localised cancer. By contrast, people aged 75 years or older at diagnosis, migrants from non-English-speaking countries and people diagnosed in more recent diagnostic periods were less likely to present with localised cancer. Conclusions: Targeted strategies that specifically encourage earlier diagnosis and treatment that may subsequently influence better survival are required to increase the proportion of NSW residents presenting with localised cancer at diagnosis. �� 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.