Survival rates revealed for most common types of cancer

Diagnosed cases rise, but survival rates for most cancers improve.

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A government report shows that the number of cancer cases diagnosed in 2019 is expected to be three times that of 1982, but survival rates are improving for most, but not all types.

An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report, Cancer in Australia 2019, shows that 145,000 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2019 compared with 47,500 in 1982.

AIHW spokesperson Justin Harvey said that the trend was primarily due to rises in the number of cases of prostate cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer and melanoma, and was partly explained by ageing and the increasing size of the population.

The report also shows that five-year survival rates from all cancers combined had improved from 50 per cent during 1986–1990 to 69 per cent during 2011–2015.

“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,” Mr Harvey said.

Over the same period (1986–1990 to 2011–2015), survival rates for patients with cancer of the larynx, lip, mesothelioma, brain and other digestive organs showed no significant change. And survival rates for those suffering from bladder cancer had decreased.

For the first time, national data are available on the stage at which cancer was diagnosed for the five most common cancers in 2011 (prostate, breast, bowel and lung cancer and melanoma). This was due to collaboration between the AIHW, all state and territory population-based cancer registries and Cancer Australia.

Analysis of this new data found that five-year survival rates were higher for cancers diagnosed at earlier stages (stages one and two). Bowel cancers, breast cancers, melanomas and prostate cancers diagnosed in 2011 all had close to 100 per cent five-year relative survival when diagnosed at stage one.

At stage four, the survival rates were 36 per cent for prostate cancer, 32 per cent for breast cancer, 26 per cent for melanoma and 13 per cent for bowel cancer. While lung cancer had comparatively low five-year survival at stage one (68 per cent), it was significantly higher than the three per cent five-year relative survival rate for lung cancer diagnosed at stage four.

While survival rates continue to improve, the report shows that cancer remains a major cause of death in Australia.

“In fact, when we consider all types of cancer together, we see that they are responsible for more deaths than any other group of diseases, accounting for three in every 10 deaths in 2016,” Mr Harvey said.

Lung cancer is expected to be the leading cause of cancer death in 2019, followed by colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.

“These five cancers are expected to account for around half (48 per cent) of all deaths from cancer in 2019, with lung cancer alone expected to account for nearly one in five (18 per cent) of cancer deaths,’ Mr 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.”

The report also looked at how cancer outcomes differ across population groups.

For all cancers combined, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders experienced lower five-year survival rates than non-Indigenous Australians.

A similar pattern was seen for people living in very remote areas, which recorded lower five-year survival rates and higher death rates.

Mr Harvey said that while death and survival rates varied among different groups, people diagnosed with cancer in Australia generally had more positive outcomes when the data was considered in an international context.

“The data suggest Australia has among the world’s best cancer survival rates, with a relatively low ratio of deaths to the number of cases diagnosed in the Australia/New Zealand region,” he said.

The United States and most areas of Europe also recorded positive results above the global average.

Are you surprised at the prevalence of cancer in Australia? Do you follow developments and research?

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    COMMENTS

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    Ted Wards
    10th Apr 2019
    9:58am
    You would think that with the literally billions of dollars in research that has been spent over the last 40 years, that cancer would be on the decrease, yet its not. Maybe what the conspiracy theorists are saying has some merit.. there's no profit in cures and yes I have lost many family members to all sorts of cancers.
    Rod63
    10th Apr 2019
    12:54pm
    Ted, the report explained, " the trend was primarily due to rises in the number of cases of prostate cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer and melanoma, and was partly explained by ageing and the increasing size of the population" and "survival rates continue to improve".

    So yes, there is more cancer because we are living longer and detection ability is better, but survival rates are improving.

    So, things are getting better though cancer remains a horrible, sad reality for so many. Sorry about your losses.
    GeorgeM
    10th Apr 2019
    8:15pm
    I have to agree with Ted, as the billions of dollars spent by research organisations and Cancer Council, etc, are clearly not achieving any improvement. The comment "..the trend ....... was partly explained by ageing and the increasing size of the population" is shifty at best and a cover-up, as the article says there will be 3 TIMES the number of cases this year as in 1982.

    There was also a study mentioned in YLC maybe a couple of months ago (from a UK article) which mentioned that Australia was No.1 in the world for the expected RATE of cancers in 2019!!! The Cancer Council and the Govt Health Depts have a lot of explaining to do but have been silent!
    floss
    10th Apr 2019
    10:43am
    The oppositions war on cancer a great policy . The cost of treatment is out of reach for some and they are forced to just give up , sad really.
    KSS
    10th Apr 2019
    1:15pm
    Cancer diagnostics and treatment are free to medicard holders in Australia through the public health system as people here have pointed out. Mr Shorten conveniently 'forgets' to mention that. The current out of pocket expenses relate to those with private health insurance who elect to use that instead.Instead of Mr Shorten deliberately misleading the public on this issue (much exactly as he did with the last Mediscare debacle) and callously using the emotive subject of 'cancer' nomenclature, he would do far better tacking the private health insurance companies on out of pocket expenses for ALL diseases and conditions not just for cancer patients.
    Paddington
    10th Apr 2019
    9:34pm
    KSS, wrong! Many tests are not free. Long waiting lists even for the first specialist visit is another problem! People are coming out and saying this repeatedly. It is not an issue connected to private health, it is about the public system unable to cope and getting into seeing a specialist and therefore having to go privately to see a specialist. Blood tests are not all free. Some of the scans are not free. Not even up to the hospital part yet and those with no private cover are at the mercy of the public system and getting treatment. Another reason that those who can pay, pay or pay something!
    Arisaid
    10th Apr 2019
    11:05am
    As a survivor of non Hodgkins lymphoma and in remission for 9 years, one thing that gets poo poo a lot is that besides medical intervention a positive attitude is very important.
    Pass the Ductape
    10th Apr 2019
    12:12pm
    Having had stage three bowel cancer (likely the result of a miss-spent youth - boozing - red meat etc.) and been told I have now beaten it, I found the term 'remaining positive' simply just words Arisaid.

    How does one interpret 'remain positive'? How does one go about doing so? You hear almost every minute of the day on the radio or TV about how many people are dying from cancer - or how to donate to this organisation and that organisation to help research cancer - or what we need to eat to stop getting cancer! Caner - cancer - cancer - everywhere you turn! Everything you know about cancer is negative.

    Despite the accolades thrown about how the survival rate from cancer is continually improving, the only thing positive about cancer is that the numbers who get it are on the increase and once you know you have it, your chances of dying sooner than other people are pretty much a certainty....if you don't put up a fight!

    The only way to give yourselves half a chance in this fight is to throw away the gloves and really go to war with it - because it is a war and even if you don't win every battle you have to keep attacking the damn stuff, manifesting angry feelings towards it!

    You need to convince your inner self that the rest of your body doesn't deserve to cop this stuff and wants it gone!

    You HAVE to get your mindset really focused and I don't just mean half baked or pussyfooting around the area.

    You have to follow the chemo plan without exception and if you drink alcohol - give it up - none of this cutting down shit! You'll often need beat your chest, literally, and demand this damn horrible monster inside you to bugger off (stronger language is preferable). And FOCUS!

    I don't say this is considered 'thinking positive'; rather I simply accepted I understood the negative side, then convinced my inner self they had no place in my life. So those who have it - get in shape and let fly with your right hook - take it out!

    Best of luck to all in their fight.
    inextratime
    10th Apr 2019
    12:51pm
    I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2002. An Operation and six months chemo was told I was in the clear. Four years later secondaries in the lung and liver. Two operations, in consecutive months Dec 2005 and Jan 2006, and a further 6 months of chemo. I paid a fair amount of gap fee and paid for the chemo chemical. 12 years later I'm as active as any OAP and still enjoy a drink.
    Two things I learnt and was given this advice by a receptionist when collecting a scan. Never put your head in the sand. Secondly if you can afford private health do so. I was slotted in early for the liver op due to a cancellation of a patient and I don't think that would have happened if I was a public patient. Yes I was lucky to have tumours that were operable but that was because I was relatively early in the original diagnosis. Hope that helps anyone who maybe having thoughts about a trip to a GP.
    inextratime
    10th Apr 2019
    12:51pm
    I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2002. An Operation and six months chemo was told I was in the clear. Four years later secondaries in the lung and liver. Two operations, in consecutive months Dec 2005 and Jan 2006, and a further 6 months of chemo. I paid a fair amount of gap fee and paid for the chemo chemical. 12 years later I'm as active as any OAP and still enjoy a drink.
    Two things I learnt and was given this advice by a receptionist when collecting a scan. Never put your head in the sand. Secondly if you can afford private health do so. I was slotted in early for the liver op due to a cancellation of a patient and I don't think that would have happened if I was a public patient. Yes I was lucky to have tumours that were operable but that was because I was relatively early in the original diagnosis. Hope that helps anyone who maybe having thoughts about a trip to a GP.
    PlanB
    10th Apr 2019
    4:37pm
    The reason why there is so much more cancer around now is because of Radiation -- since 1945 we have bee overwhelmed with -- what with the bomb tests all over the place AND in the Pacific PLUS also the many disasters and the one that is STILL happening with nothing being said about it in the mainstream media -- is FUKUSHIMA which has and STILL is pouring many many millions of radioactive rubbish AND water into the Pacific since 2011 -- and so much of the fish and marine life plus the seaweed they and us eat -- is so deadly -- if you do not believe what I have sais then look it up for your selves -- as there will be NOTHING said on mainstream media!

    After all, they are holding the Olympic there in 2020 and the surfing is going to be at FUKUSHIMA
    GeorgeM
    10th Apr 2019
    8:17pm
    Yes, the media and tourism agencies are together preventing facts from being publicised about such dangers as a matter of routine. Who says there is no censorship here?
    PlanB
    11th Apr 2019
    8:17am
    Yes George, IMO this is nothing but murder not making such things public and the danger of eating such from the Pacific -- and it has spread further than the Pacific now ---also what about Sushi -- (I love it) but no way will I eat it now and after the Japan disaster -- but I see Mothers feeding to their little ones -- thinking they are doing the best thing -- (and they would be under normal circumstances) but not now that it is so contaminated.
    Radiation NEVER goes away and you can not taste/smell or see it.
    Let's face it it is once again all about MONEY


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