Feb 5, 2014

Report card: is Australia doing enough to fight cancer?

In 2008 Australia committed to a five-year plan to fight cancer, including tackling physical inactivity, diet, smoking and alcohol use. Crikey intern Isabel Filgueiras hands down a report card on how we did.

Cancer has become the leading cause of death in Australia, according to a report by the World Health Organization released yesterday to mark World Cancer Day. TheĀ global epidemic caused over 8 million deaths in 2012, with 40,000 in Australia, which has the third-highest cancer incidence. Last year, 125,000 Australians were diagnosed. The Cancer Council Australia says that one in three women and two in three men are likely to be diagnosed with cancer before the age of 85.

The number of cancer-related deaths has decreased in the last few years due to improved treatments, but the number of diagnoses has been steadily growing since the 1990s. It’s estimated the number of cases will increase 20% by 2020, reaching 150,000.

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4 thoughts on “Report card: is Australia doing enough to fight cancer?

  1. johnb78

    The world average alcohol consumption is an utterly stupid measure to compare against, because it includes countries where everyone is too poor to afford packaged alcohol and countries where large numbers of people are teetotal.

    If you take a sensible comparator – e.g. developed countries – Australia is in the bottom half of the table and falling, largely thanks to the efforts of wowsers like Mr (not Dr) Slevin.

  2. Djbekka

    Maybe we are reading answers to the wrong questions.

    *Why are so many of us contracting cancer? Because relatively few die of infectious diseases or industrial accidents or industrial diseases or blood infections from wounds, etc.
    *How did that happen? Public health and safety changes, vaccination, antibiotics, improved medical care – all as a result of research (e.g. antibiotics), political action (e.g. worker health and safety), changing economy (e.g. better access to healthy food), governments taking responsibility for public health (e.g. clean water).
    *While the so-called fight against cancer is in this article laid on the backs of individuals to change practices because of either advice or hectoring, nowhere is there a comment on environmental causes of cancer or the brute fact that we all will die of something. Having eliminated the scourges of most of humankind for those in developed countries, it seems unfair to be shocked that a remaining cause seems to be gaining ground in the ’cause of death’ stakes.
    *What can be done? Well, primary research about cancer in its many forms and less brutal methods of treatment, cleaning the environment, regulation of foods and food packaging to promote foods that promote health. Stop using the terminology of warfare about a disease state. Cancer, unlike industrial pollution, is not out there. Cancer cells are our own cells doing unexpected things that often cause death when untreated.

    Also, let’s have more aid to countries in a less enviable position and help provide clean water (not military aid), better food distribution networks, inexpensive antibiotics and vaccines, and safe working conditions.

  3. AR

    So even a couple sharing a bottle of decent wine (7-8 standard drinks) per evening are way over the recommended daily intake.

  4. zut alors

    I often wonder if the increase in allergies & cancer in a first world country has any connection to the excessive use of leafblowers.

    They stir up tiny particles of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, mold, spores & fecal matter which we would not normally ingest in such high doses.

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