Cancer Survival Rate Improving

An estimated 134,000 new cases of cancer will diagnosed in Australia in 2017. That’s one diagnosis every four minutes…

The latest cancer report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that despite high levels of cancer diagnosis estimated for 2017, the survival rate is also steadily improving.

The information comes from the Cancer in Australia 2017 Report, which estimates an average of 267 diagnoses per day – 2.8 times as high as in 1982.

The research

AIHW Spokesperson, Justin Harvey, said the rate of new cancer cases has grown from 383 per 100,000 people in 1982, to an expected rate of 470 per 100,000 people in 2017.

Not to be alarmed, though! Despite the rise in cancer diagnosis, there is also a steady increase in the survival rate. Mortality rates (people who die from cancer) have fallen from 209 per 100,000 people in 1982 to an estimated 161 per 100,000 in 2017.

The reason for this decrease in mortality rate is largely due to a decline in the incidence rate of prostate cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males.

Leading cause of cancer death in Australia

According to Mr Harvey, it is expected that more than half (54%) of all diagnosed cancer cases in 2017 will be males; however, breast cancer in female is also expected to rise.

As for the leading cause of cancer death in 2017, Mr Harvey predicts lung cancer, followed closely by bowel cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer in females, and pancreatic cancer.

“It’s not all bad news, though, as survival rates have improved substantially. Research shows that ‘5-year survival’ has increased from 48% in 1984-1988 to 68% in 2009-2013,” he said.

The report also noted that people living in Australia generally had better cancer survival rates than other countries and regions, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) comparisons.

‘We can. I can.’

World Cancer Day was held on 4 February 2017. This global event, with the tagline, ‘We can. I can.’ focussed on the many things that individuals and groups can do to reduce the burden of cancer.

Professor Sanchia Aranda, Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Council Australia said that Australians may not realise that one in three Australian cancer cases can be prevented.

“Of the 134,000 estimated diagnoses of cancer in 2017, approximately one third of those cases were caused by preventable lifestyle risk factors such as recreational smoking and diet,” she said.

“Regular physical activity is one of the simplest ways individuals can reduce their cancer risk and encourage other healthy lifestyle habits.”

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