Cancer has been named the nation’s top health concern, prompting Cancer Council to call on all Australians to take greater action to reduce their personal risk.
Almost half of those surveyed (49 per cent) in AIA Australia’s 2013 Healthy Living Index Survey were more worried about a cancer diagnosis than any other health condition including heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity.
The top cancer concerns were breast (63 per cent of women surveyed), prostate (26 per cent of men surveyed) and skin cancer (27 per cent of all Aussies surveyed).
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said many Aussies didn’t realise they could personally take steps to reduce their overall cancer risk.
“Australians fear cancer far more than other health conditions, but many of us don’t realise we can all make simple lifestyle changes to reduce our chances of diagnosis,” Ms Clift said.
“Up to 30 per cent of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle choices – quitting smoking, participating in recommended screening, eating healthily, getting active, staying SunSmart and reducing our alcohol intake.
“An uptake in mammograms among target age groups is crucial – only half of all eligible Australian women are currently screened through BreastScreen.
“All Aussie men should understand their personal risk of prostate cancer, and be well-informed about the pros and cons of testing.
“Up to 99 per cent of skin cancer cases in Australia are caused by exposure to the sun. We can reduce rates substantially by remembering to stay SunSmart every day.
“In Queensland specifically, over 90 per cent of deaths each year are due to chronic disease and research shows a significant percentage of these deaths could have been avoided through healthy living.
“Hospital and Health Service funding for preventive health programs in regional and remote areas is therefore critical to cancer control.
“Research and outreach programs by Hospital and Health Services are also critical to build an evidence base for addressing this tragic disparity in survival.”
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.
*AIA Australian Healthy Living Index Survey, 2013, www.aia.com.