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Could over 40,000 cancer cases in Australia be prevented?

Could over 40,000 cancer cases in Australia be prevented?

Minister for Health Sussan Ley today launched Check Your Cancer Risk, an interactive online tool to help people understand how lifestyle factors can contribute to their risk of cancer.

Ms Ley said “with one third of all cancer cases believed to be preventable, Check Your Cancer Risk is designed to motivate people to take simple, achievable steps to reduce their risk by assessing lifestyle factors, including weight and diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, smoking and sun exposure.

“It is estimated that over 130,000 Australians will be diagnosed with cancer this year, the equivalent of one person every four minutes. Yet the World Health Organisation estimates at least one third of all cancer cases are preventable. World experts also estimate that more than half of all cancers could be prevented through a combination of healthy lifestyle and regular screening.”

CEO of Cancer Australia Professor Helen Zorbas said “a recent survey by Cancer Australia showed while smoking and excessive UV radiation are well-known risks, other lifestyle choices such as alcohol consumption, excess weight and low levels of physical activity pose risks that are not always fully appreciated”.

“The evidence is well established – four of the top five most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia, lung, bowel, melanoma and breast cancers, are also among the most preventable.

“We encourage everyone to make time to visit Check Your Cancer Risk to assess their lifestyle choices and, where possible, make positive, healthy changes to reduce their cancer risk.”

Australia is a world leader in cancer control and we experience among the highest cancer survival rates in the world. Yet, one-in-two of us will be diagnosed with cancer, and one-in-five will have died from cancer before we reach the age of 85.

In 2016, it is estimated that there were 46,570 deaths due to cancer, accounting for 3 out of every 10 deaths in Australia. Lung, bowel, prostate, breast and pancreatic cancer are the most common causes of cancer death. It is estimated that these accounted for nearly half the total deaths due to cancer in 2015 in Australia.

The Check Your Cancer Risk tool and website with information and ‘how to’ advice is at: www.canceraustralia.gov.au/yourcancerrisk

More information

Check Your Cancer Risk was developed and based on Cancer Australia’s Position Statement Lifestyle Risk Factors and the Primary Prevention of Cancer, which provides a summary of the international evidence regarding modifiable lifestyle factors and cancer risk and concise recommendations on how to reduce risk, in one consolidated resource. For more details, go to www.canceraustralia.gov.au/cancerpreventionstatement.

Key Cancer Facts

  • In 2016, it is estimated that there will be 130470 cancers diagnosed in Australia.
  • It is estimated that in 2016 47,380 people will die from cancer in Australia.
  • At least one third of cancers are preventable.
  • It is estimated that the top 5 cancers for men in 2016 will be:
    • Prostate (18,140)
    • Colorectal (9,810)
    • Melanoma of the skin (7,850)
    • Lung (7,130)
    • Head and neck (3,260)
  • It is estimated that the top 5 cancers for women in 2016 will be:
    • Breast (15,930)
    • Colorectal (7,710)
    • Melanoma of the skin (5,440)
    • Lung (5,070)
    • Uterus (2,650)

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