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Understanding cancer

Find out more about cancer and the impact it has on NSW.

Cancer impacts the lives of many people in New South Wales – people living with a cancer diagnosis, caring for a loved one, or searching for a cure.

In 2012, 42,079 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in NSW and 14,099 died from the disease.

Cancer is now the largest burden of disease in Australia, surpassing cardiovascular disease.

On average, one in two people in NSW will be diagnosed with a form of cancer by the age of 85.

The experience of having cancer is not the same for everyone; cancers can start almost anywhere in the body and most cancers are not caused by a single event.

Understanding cancer can help people to reduce their risk, approach their own diagnosis with confidence, or support other people living with the cancer.

Find data and information about how different cancers impact on the people of NSW. Cancer in NSW impacts people living with a cancer diagnosis, caring for a loved one, or searching for a cure.

Older lady sitting outdoors.

Cancer is not a single disease—there are more than 200 types of cancers. Find out how they can be different and what that means.

Lady thinking about what causes cancer

Find out about the factors that can create abnormal cells in the body and lead to cancer.

Doctor seeing patient

As cancers grow or spread they cause changes in the body, and these can cause symptoms. Find out what to look for and know when to see your doctor.

Cancers can start almost anywhere in the body, and they are named and grouped depending on their location and characteristics.

Girl thinking about the different stages of cancer

The stage of a cancer describes how far it has grown and spread at the time it is diagnosed. These are often reported as Stage 0 to Stage 4 cancer. Knowing the stage of a cancer is important as it helps doctors to work out the best treatment options.

See how far we've come in treating, detecting and reducing cancers worldwide.