Screen­ing and smarts beat­ing cancer deaths


DEATH rates from cancer in South Aus­tralia are fall­ing as cancer screen­ing pro­grams, new ther­a­pies and health cam­paigns such as to stop smok­ing, ex­er­cise, be Sun­Smart, eat well and drink al­co­hol in mod­er­a­tion, have an im­pact.

Lat­est fig­ures show be­tween 2011 and 2015 mor­tal­ity rates for men de­creased by 0.4 per cent a year, while fe­male rates de­creased by 0.3 per cent.

It is pro­jected to fall slightly for both men and women in sub­se­quent years.

The in­ci­dence rate for men also fell, by 1.3 a year, but rose by 0.9 per cent for women.

Can­cers which have screen­ing pro­grams avail­able such as breast, bowel and cervix re­main among the most com­mon can­cers for both in­ci­dence and mor­tal­ity in South Aus­tralia, the data from SA Health shows.

There were 3767 cancer deaths in 2015 – fall­ing to a pro­jected 3702 this year – with lung cancer ac­count­ing for 18.9 per cent of deaths among men and 19.3 per cent of fe­male deaths.

The Cancer in South Aus­tralia 2015 re­port re­vealed 10,008 new cases of cancer di­ag­nosed in SA that year, pro­jected to rise to 10,543 this year.

For women, breast cancer was the most com­monly di­ag­nosed cancer in 2015, ac­count­ing for 29.4 per cent of cases while for men, prostate cancer ac­counted for 26.2 per cent.

SA Health’s di­rec­tor of preven­tion and pop­u­la­tion health, Pro­fes­sor Katina D’Onise, said par­tic­i­pa­tion in cancer screen­ing was cru­cial in the early de­tec­tion and pos­si­ble preven­tion.

“We know from this data that one in three men, and one in four women in South Aus­tralia will be di­ag­nosed with cancer in their life­time,” Prof D’Onise said.

“That’s why we en­cour­age ev­ery­one who is el­i­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate in screen­ing pro­grams for bowel, breast and cervix can­cers as early de­tec­tion is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant.

“These tests have been de­vel­oped specif­i­cally to de­tect can­cers well be­fore any symp­toms are present, which is why screenings are so im­por­tant.

“Some can­cers can be de­tected at an early stage, when treat­ment is likely to be more ef­fec­tive. As more peo­ple par­tic­i­pate in screen­ing, we can de­tect and be­gin treat­ing can­cers ear­lier and im­prove on cur­rent mor­tal­ity rates.”

Af­ter lung cancer, the lead­ing cause of cancer death among men was prostate at 11.7 per cent and col­orec­tal at 11.6 per cent. For women, lung cancer was fol­lowed by breast cancer as the lead­ing cause of cancer death at 15.4 per cent and col­orec­tal at 11.9 per cent.

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