Cancer survival rates on the rise in Australia

Published 07 Feb 2017

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Australia, but new research has suggested that survival rates continue to climb.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's (AIHW) latest Cancer in Australia report estimated that 134,174 new cases of the disease will be diagnosed in the country this year, with an average of 131 deaths each day.

Figures from the Cancer Council of Australia show that one in two men and one in three women will suffer from the disease by the time they reach 85. Furthermore, cancer currently accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths in the country.

While critical illness cover can provide financial support for families who are struggling to cope with the effects of a loved one being diagnosed with the disease, many people simply want to receive the all clear from doctors.

Cancer survival rates in Australia

According to the AIHW report, around 57 per cent of cancer deaths are men, while 87 per cent are people aged 60 and over. Thankfully, mortality rates have dropped dramatically over the last few decades.

Between 1984 and 1988, the five-year relative survival rate was just 48 per cent, but this had increased to 68 per cent in 2009-13. The types of cancer that have seen the biggest advances are non-Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, kidney cancer and prostate cancer.

The AIHW also reported a slight increase in survival rates for those with pancreatic and lung cancers. Sadly, cancers of the bladder and the larynx experienced a rise in fatalities.

"In 2017, lung cancer is expected to be the leading cause of cancer death, followed by colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer in females and pancreatic cancer," the report stated.

The importance of early detection

The Cancer in Australia report was released earlier this month ahead of World Cancer Day on Saturday February 4.

Cancer Council Australia CEO Professor Sanchia Aranda said the research highlights the positive steps the country has taken to improve survival rates, but she admitted more could be done.

"We continue to see low participation rates in our three life-saving cancer screening programs for bowel, breast and cervical cancer," she explained.

"Cancer Council modelling shows that if bowel cancer screening participation increased [from fewer than 40 per cent] to 60 per cent by 2020, we could prevent 83,700 premature bowel cancer deaths over the next two decades."

Have you or a loved one recently been diagnosed with cancer? You could be entitled to a lump sum payment under your superannuation or insurance policy's critical illness cover. Please contact us today to find out more.

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