The number of Australians living with or beyond cancer is expected to increase by a staggering 72% in the next 22 years Cancer Council Australia revealed yesterday in a report released ahead of World Cancer Day on 4 February.
The report shows that the increase in the number of Australians living with and surviving cancer will lead to almost 1.9 million Australians living with a personal history of cancer by 2040. That’s an increase from 1 in 22 Australians today, to 1 in 18 in the next 22 years.
Experts say this rise in the number of Australians living with or beyond cancer can be attributed to the country’s growing and ageing population, as well as increasing cancer survival rates thanks to better prevention, early detection and research.
Professor Sanchia Aranda, Cancer Council Australia CEO and President of the Union for International Cancer Control, said that while survival rates are improving, the figures highlight some unique challenges for cancer control, management and support services for the future.
“While the majority (64%) of the 1.9 million Australians who have been diagnosed with cancer by 2040 will have lived more than five years beyond diagnosis, a substantial proportion will have been recently diagnosed and will be undergoing treatment, and others may be living with advanced cancer. The data also highlight the fact that the poorest members of our community have lower survival rates, reinforcing the need to pay greater attention to cancer in harder to reach populations.”
The research released shows there will be more men (53%) living with or beyond cancer than women, and that more than half (58%) of people who have been diagnosed with cancer in 2040 will be aged 70 years or older.
Professor Aranda said that the new figures highlighted the increasing need for support services for people affected by cancer, particularly for older Australians.
Associate Professor Roger Milne, Head of Epidemiology at Cancer Council Victoria, said that prostate, breast, bowel and melanoma were the common cancer types that would contribute the most to the increasing number of people who have a personal history of cancer.