More people surviving cancer, 'rather not know' attitude taking lives
The latest cancer survival report, released by the Cancer Institute NSW today, reveals a steady increase in five-year survival across NSW, but the cancer control agency says it is the ‘rather not know’ attitude that poses the greatest risk.
"This report shows cancer is not the death sentence it once was
- yet we still hear people would 'rather not know' if they have
cancer. It is this belief that is the biggest risk to your health.
Early detection may save your life," said Chief Cancer Officer and
CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow.
"If you were diagnosed with cancer in the early eighties, you
only had a 49 per cent chance of survival after five years. We have
come a long way since then. Today, if you are diagnosed with
cancer, you have a 64.4 per cent chance of beating the disease,"
said Professor Currow.
The report shows a significant improvement in men's survival,
now at 63 per cent (up from 61 per cent), with women's survival
remaining steady at 66 per cent. But, the stark difference in the
chance of survival comes if the cancer is detected early.
"If the cancer is detected before it has spread, your chance of
survival after five years is up to 84 per cent. People across NSW
should take personal action in the fight against cancer by making
sure they participate in the relevant free screening programs
available across the State.
"These programs can detect cancer even before any symptoms
become apparent, and are one of the reasons NSW has one of the best
survival rates from cancer in the world. They are free, world-class
The report reveals overall survival after five years is greater
than 90 per cent for cancers of the prostate, testes, thyroid, lip
and melanoma of the skin. Breast cancer survival follows closely
with overall survival at 88.3 per cent, but this increases to 97
per cent if the disease is diagnosed early.
However, people diagnosed with cancer of unknown primary origin,
esophagus, liver, lung, mesothelioma and pancreas have less than a
20 per cent chance of survival.
"There is still considerable work that needs to be done to
reduce the burden of cancer in NSW, particularly for people who
have poor prognosis cancers. Further investment in cancer research
throughout the State will result in improvements in survival for
people diagnosed with these cancers. But for the people of NSW -
taking personal action today to beat cancer by participating in the
available screening programs may be life saving," said Professor
Read the full report here
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