Increased incidence gives rise to harmful cancer myths
A new global scientific report released today (4/2) for World Cancer Day shows that cancer is the biggest cause of mortality worldwide, responsible for 8.2 million deaths per year and rising.
The World Cancer Report also predicts that cancer incidence will increase by 75 per cent over the next two decades, exceeding 20 million new cases a year in 2025.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said reasons for the increase varied in different countries.
“Australia has one of the world’s highest cancer incidence rates, third in the world behind Denmark and France, largely because of our ageing population,” Ms Clift said.
“Australians are living longer than previous generations, thanks to improved infection and cardiovascular disease control.
“Unfortunately cancer is a disease that is more likely to affect us later in life, so the longer Australians live, the more cancer cases we will see.”
“Extended life expectancy in the developing world is also increasing cancer rates globally. Unfortunately, developing countries are also adopting the worst of our Western lifestyle, such as smoking, poor diet and inactivity, which is significantly contributing to global cancer prevalence.
“We need to act as a global community and do what we know works to reduce the cancer burden – promoting a healthy lifestyle, evidence-based screening programs, and access to life-saving medicine.”
Ms Clift said the prevalence of cancer could give way to the rise of misinformation and myths about cancer prevention, early detection and a cure.
To help Australians sort cancer fact from fiction, Cancer Council has created a mobile app for its ‘iheard’ website (iheard.com.au).
“It’s important Queenslanders are as informed as possible when it comes to reducing their personal risk of cancer,” Ms Clift said.
“Don’t believe everything you read, make sure you get the right advice from trusted sources.
“Questions about sunscreen nanoparticles, whether processed meat causes cancer, and even medical discoveries like the Gardasil vaccination are all answered and explained at iheard.com.au.
“Myths and misinformation about cancer often spread on the internet and can distract people from doing the basic, proven things that will reduce their risk.
“Investing in prevention will reduce the long term cost of cancer on our community.
“The message is simple: to lower your cancer risk – quit smoking, eat healthily, participate in recommended screenings, be active, avoid harmful UV radiation, limit your alcohol consumption.”
More information about the iheard mobile app is available at cancer.org.au/iheard.
The theme for World Cancer Day is ‘Debunk the myths’. Find out more at worldcancerday.org.au.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at
www.cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171