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Cancer cases are up, but so are survival rates

A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that the number of cancer cases is likely to rise to 145,000 this year, three times the rates reported in 1982.

However, the report also shows that five-year survival rates of all cancers have improved from 50 per cent in 1986 to 69 per cent in the period 2011–15.

AIHW spokesperson Justin Harvey said: “Changes in survival rates over time varied by cancer type, with the largest survival improvements seen in prostate cancer, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma.”

The data also showed that bowel and breast cancer, melanoma and prostate cancers diagnosed in 2011 had nearly 100 per cent survival rates if diagnosed at stage one.

However, cancer of all forms remains responsible for more deaths than any group of diseases with every three in 10 deaths in Australia attributed to cancer. Lung cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer are responsible for the most cancer deaths.

"These five cancers are expected to account for around half – or 48 per cent – of all deaths from cancer in 2019, with lung cancer alone expected to account for nearly 1 in 5 – or 18 per cent – of cancer deaths," Harvey said.

"More males than females are expected to die from cancer in 2019, with 56 per cent of cancer-related deaths expected to occur in males."

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