Cancer in Queensland: a community issue

We all have a role to play in cancer control. As mothers, fathers, grandparents, friends, colleagues, football coaches, and members of the community.

One Queenslander is diagnosed with cancer every 20 minutes, and all of us know someone who has been impacted.

It’s a disease that affects all of us in some way, often leaving a path of despair with every appointment, every round of chemotherapy, every surgery, every medical bill, and every life lost.

Of urgent concern, cancer still remains the leading cause of health burden in Australia, making up around 19 per cent of the total disease burden.

Not only are 27,000 Queenslanders diagnosed with cancer annually, but 8700 Queenslanders will tragically lose their life due to this devastating disease.

It begs the question, what can we do to ensure Queenslanders have the best possible chances of preventing, detecting early, and beating this disease?

While there is no easy answer, we do know that Queenslanders can all play a part in helping to reduce their individual risks, simply by making some healthy lifestyle changes.

Astonishingly, 48 per cent of the entire cancer burden in Australia can be attributed to lung, bowel, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers.

In Queensland, skin cancer is also a major burden, both in terms of the physical and emotional toll it takes, and also because of the toll it takes on our community and the economy – with regional Queenslanders copping a disproportionate share of the overall skin cancer burden.

An estimated 324,000 non-melanoma skin cancers are cut out every year in Queensland – a staggeringly high number, with many of them avoidable and preventable.

You can reduce your personal risk just by being SunSmart – slip, slop, slap, seek, and slide.

Moreover, if you’re a smoker, quit today and you will significantly reduce your risk of lung cancer, as well as protecting others from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke.

Of particular importance, eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of a range of cancers, including bowel and stomach cancer. And reducing your alcohol intake can curb your risks of cancers including liver, bowel, oesophageal and breast cancer in women.

Equally, physical activity can reduce your risks of bowel and breast cancers, and maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your risk of cancers such as liver, pancreas and kidney cancer.

In fact, up to one third of all cancer cases can be prevented just through healthy lifestyle changes, along with taking part in recommended screening programs.

We’ve long been advocating for stronger smoke-free laws and initiatives to tackle our statewide overweight and obesity epidemic to help Queenslanders reduce their cancer risk, and we will continue our work to protect Queensland’s next generation from the heart-breaking loss caused by tobacco.

The evidence is clear, all of us have the power to influence cancer control, and Cancer Council Queensland is here to help.

We’re urging all Queenslanders, once again, to put your health first and stand up to cancer. Together, we can save lives.

We’re here for all Queenslanders, all cancers. Simply call 13 11 20 to talk to our team.

Ms Chris McMillan
CEO, Cancer Council Queensland

For more information or interviews, please contact:
Laura McKoy,
Media Manager,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5345
Mobile: 0409 001 171