Source: The Weekend Australian, Saturday May 9, 1998, p.3
BELINDA HICKMAN AUSTRALIA is winning the battle against cancer. The number of cases and deaths caused by the disease has fallen for the first time, new figures show. Data to be released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare next month show that the incidence of cancer in men and women peaked in 1994 and has begun to fall. The institute projects that by 2000 almost 12,500 fewer men and 3000 fewer women will have been diagnosed with cancer. There will also be more than 700 fewer cancer-related deaths among men and 104 fewer among women. In 1995, 509 men out of every 100,000 were diagnosed with cancer. This figure is expected to fall to 437 per 100,000 in 1999. Mortality rates are expected to drop to 224 from 228 during the same period. Among women, 341 out of 100,000 were diagnosed with cancer in 1995. This number is expected to fall to 322 by next year. The mortality rate for women is expected to drop from 138 to 137 over the period. The institute attributes the downward trend to successful health promotion campaigns- particularly anti-smoking pro- grams. It also commends the role of screening services-such as pap smears and mammograms -and improved treatments. Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria president Robert Burton said the new statistics meant Australia had joined the US as the only country in the world to record falling rates of new cancer cases. Professor Burton said anti- smoking campaigns in particular had effected cancer rates. "The death rate from smoking- related cancers in men peaked in the mid-eighties and is now falling very steeply," Professor Burton said. "Unfortunately, in women it is still rising." Professor Burton says more than half of all cancer is preventable. "About 15 per cent of new cancer cases are due to infection, about 15 per cent to tobacco and about 20 per cent to diet," he said. "We have it in our power to prevent at least half of all the serious cancers."
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