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  • Time to take action and reduce projected cancer rates

    04 February 2016

    Today is World Cancer Day (4 Feb) and Cancer Council SA is calling on people to take action now to avoid the projected 16% increase in new cancer cases over the next decade.

    Data from AIHW (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare) suggests that by 2024, cancer cases in South Australia will have risen to 11,722 per year, up from the 2016 projection of 10,137.

    This represents an estimated annual increase of 1.9% through to 2024.

    Latest data from SA Cancer Registry indicates that there were 9,486 cancer cases in South Australia in 2012.

    Cancer Council SA, Chief Executive, Lincoln Size, said that local projected cancer cases were a concern and the time for action is now.

    “We know that up to 30 per cent of all cancers are caused by known and avoidable risk factors such as smoking, UV exposure, poor diet, alcohol consumption and being overweight,” Mr Size said.

    “There is no better time than on World Cancer Day, to highlight the importance of reducing our own personal risks to the factors we know cause cancer.

    “Exposure to UV adds up over our lifetime and we know that the amount of exposure to UV radiation during childhood and adolescence has a significant impact on a person’s lifetime skin cancer risk.

    “Protecting the skin when UV is 3 and above at any age will reduce an individual’s risk of skin cancer.

    “Tobacco kills around 20 South Australians each week and is one of the largest preventable causes of cancer. Avoiding exposure to tobacco smoke, either by quitting or not being around second hand smoke will reduce a person’s risk of cancer.

    “Maintaining a healthy body weight, eating more fruit, vegetables and wholegrains as part of a balanced diet, limiting alcohol consumption and making physical activity a part of our daily routine will reduce the risk of cancer.

    “Taking action with these and other healthy lifestyle choices can help ensure that the projected cancer trends don’t become reality.”

    Mr Size added that improved cancer screening programs were also an important part of reducing the impact of cancer on the local community.

    “Better screening programs and improved diagnostic tools are able to detect cancers at an early stage, increasing the number of cancers detected but also ensuring they are diagnosed at a time when treatment and survival outcomes are much improved.”

    “We encourage all eligible South Australians to participate in the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, and Breast Screening and Pap tests for women.

    “Thanks to research, we have come a long way with early detection and treatment measures, with more people surviving a cancer diagnosis than ever before.

    “However, we can relieve the increasing pressure on medical and support services, plus survivorship assistance for people post treatment, by preventing as many cancer cases as possible.

    “Not all cancers can be prevented but we must increase awareness about those we can control and by 2024 hopefully we will have fallen short of the current projections.”

    Mr Size added that at Cancer Council SA, we are here to help those whose lives are affected by cancer.

    “Whether it be through conducting and funding research in supportive care, providing supportive accommodation for country people, our 13 11 20 information and support service, our counselling, or other support programs, we don’t want anyone to ever feel that support and guidance is not available.”

    For cancer information and support, please call Cancer Council 13 11 20, or to quit smoking call Quitline on 13 7848.

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