Fatal burden of cancer predicted to increase among women

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The number of women dying prematurely from lung, bowel and liver cancer is expected to increase sharply by 2020 – a new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare study has found.

Released today, the Burden of cancer in Australia: Australian Burden of Disease Study 2011 showed the fatal burden of lung cancer for women could rise by around 26 per cent by 2020, with the fatal burden of bowel and liver cancer rising by 18 and 76 per cent, respectively.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the report was concerning, with more Australian women dying prematurely from lung, bowel and liver cancer, than men.

“In comparison, the fatal burden of lung cancer for men is expected to decrease by around three per cent by 2020, with the fatal burden of bowel cancer expected to decrease by almost two per cent,” Ms McMillan said.

“While mortality rates for liver cancer remain high for men and are predicted to increase by 44 per cent, the fatal cancer burden was still significantly lower than for women.

“Based on current figures from 2003 to 2011, researchers were able to predict the fatal burden of cancer for men and women, taking into account incidence and mortality trends.

“The rates for men offer a stark contrast to the number of women who will die early as a result of lung, bowel or liver cancer, and highlights the need for increased prevention and early detection measures to help save more lives.

“One third of all cancers can be prevented by staying SunSmart, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, and participating in recommended cancer screening programs.
“The report showed around 22 per cent of the total cancer burden can be attributed to tobacco use, which contributes to an increased risk of chronic disease, including lung and liver cancer.

“This is a wake-up call for all of us to do what we can to avoid preventable chronic disease and help detect it early. Early detection plays a key role in being able to successfully treat, and survive cancer.”

The AIHW report confirms cancer remains the leading cause of the total disease burden in Australia, with 48 per cent of the cancer burden attributed to lung, bowel, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers.

“In Queensland alone more than 27,000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with cancer each year, and 8700 die from the disease,” Ms McMillan said.

“We’re dedicated to ensuring Queenslanders have the best possible chance of detecting and treating cancer, by investing in lifesaving research studies, prevention programs and support services.”

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or via 13 11 20.

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