Cancer is on the increase in Australia

According to the latest information cancer is on the increase in Australia.

In a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on cancer statistics for 2008 new cancer cases are expected to increase by over 3,000 cases per year.

The report shows that the number of new cancer cases diagnosed in Australia each year passed the 100,000 mark for the first time in 2005 and the number of new cases in 2008 is estimated to be over 108,000.

The report, Cancer in Australia 2008, has revealed that the major impact cancer has already had on the health system is all set to continue and the number of cancer-related hospital admissions is projected to rise by over 23,000 per year in the short term.

Ms Christine Sturrock of the Institute's Health Registers and Cancer Monitoring Unit says this figure does not include cancer being treated in outpatient settings.

According to the report there will be over 42,000 deaths from cancer in 2008 and that this number will increase by over 800 deaths per year.

Ms Sturrock says the increase in the number of cancer diagnoses, hospital encounters and cancer deaths is being driven by Australia's ageing population and although the actual number of cancer deaths has increased, there has also been a significant increase in cancer survival over the last 20 years and more people are living longer after being diagnosed with cancer.

In 2005 the most common cancer in females was breast cancer (over 27% of all diagnoses) and in males it was prostate cancer, (29% of all diagnoses) and the second most common cancer in both men and women is bowel cancer.

The next three most common cancers in both sexes are melanoma of the skin, lung cancer and lymphoma.

The first phase of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, which aims to cut the incidence and deaths from bowel cancer, offered test kits to just under 1 million Australians aged 55 and 65 years between August 2006 and June 2008.

The free tests which detect blood in the faeces, which may be an indication of cancer, were used by about 43% of those people eligible and found that around 8% had blood detected and of these, an estimated 5% were found to have bowel cancer while a further 12% had pre-cancerous polyps.

The AIHW report also shows that Tasmania has some of the highest cancer rates in the country with an annual average of 433 cases per 100,000 people and lung cancer is overtaking breast cancer as a killer of Tasmanian women - Tasmania continues to have, high rates of smoking and the Cancer Council says the figures are alarming.

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