Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

More Surviving Cancer; but If Obesity Continues to Rise, So Too Will the Number of People Who Get the Horrible Disease

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

More Surviving Cancer; but If Obesity Continues to Rise, So Too Will the Number of People Who Get the Horrible Disease

Article excerpt

Byline: Sasha Petrova

THE rate of Australians dying from cancer is on a steady, downhill trajectory, thanks to powerful advances in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

New data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows a promising outlook for those diagnosed with cancer.

Deaths from all cancers fell from 199 per 100,000 people per year in 1968 to 167 per 100,000 in 2012.

"This confirms that we are steadily making improvements in most cancers, in terms of survival," Professor Timothy Hughes, Cancer Theme Leader at SAHMRI, said.

"And it's coming from better prevention, better screening and better therapy."

The downward cancer mortality rate was higher for males than females. Male deaths decreased by 4.1 per 100,000 per year, between 1995 and 2012, compared to 1.8 deaths per 100,000 females.

One reason is the base rate of cancer deaths in women was lower than that of men, as men are generally more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than women.

Education and Research Director at the Cancer Council WA, Terry Slevin, said the declining trend was "significant". He said some estimates may be conservative - successful efforts in prevention of certain cancers would see their death rates driven down even further than the report's figures.

He said lung cancer - the most common cause of cancer death in Australia - was one example where anti-smoking campaigns would contribute to mortality rates declining from 42.4 male deaths per 100,000 in 2013 to 33 in 2015.

"Another example is colorectal (bowel) cancer. While they've projected a substantial reduction in regards to mortality in men, their projection of the reduction in women is far more modest.

"If we can boost their participation rate in the National Bowel Screening Program, which is currently lower than it should be, I think we can see those figures driven down," he said.

While the rate has dropped, a rise in population levels and aging will cause the total number of cancer deaths to rise. …

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