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Report reveals regions with highest cancer rates

A new report has revealed more disadvantaged regions in Australia have the highest incidence of cancer and mortality rates.

Released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Cancer incidence and mortality by PHN report and the Cancer incidence and mortality by SA3 report, presented the latest cancer incidence and mortality data in small, geographic regions across Australia. It looked at six selected cancers - female breast cancer, colorectal cancer, cervical cancer, lung cancer, melanoma of the skin, and prostate cancer.

It found that between 2009–2013, the North Coast had the highest rate of age-standardised cancer, while North Western Melbourne experienced the lowest rate in the same period.

Northern Sydney had the lowest age-standardised cancer mortality rate between 2011–2015, in the same period Northern Territory experienced the highest rate.

It is estimated that around 47,800 people died from cancer in 2017, an average of 131 deaths each day—though death rates from cancer have fallen over time, and survival is improving.

'The death rate from all cancers has fallen from 209 deaths per 100,000 people in 1982 to an estimated 161 per 100,000 in 2017,'  AIHW spokesperson, Justin Harvey, said. "And survival rates have improved substantially, with five-year survival increasing from 48 per cent in 1984–1988 to 68 per cent in 2009–2013."

The report Cancer in Australia 2017 notes that, according to World Health Organization comparisons, people living in Australia generally had better cancer survival than those living in other countries and regions.

Meanwhile Cancer Australia also announced a new funding initiative to support young people affected by cancer and their families, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and older Australians affected by cancer, through $391,000 in grant funding.

Cancer Australia CEO, Dr Helen Zorbas, said since 2005, the Supporting people with cancer grant initiative had provided funding for 106 projects through cancer organisations, consumer groups and research institutions.

“Cancer Australia has invested more than $8.4 million in the Supporting people with cancer grant initiative since it was established, and it has also attracted almost $6 million in co-contributions from organisations focused on improving outcomes for people with cancer, families and their communities,” she said. “This year’s funding will target priority groups, including older Australians, younger people affected by cancer, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.”

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