Source: The Weekend Australian, Saturday May 9, 1998, p.3


We're winning cancer fight

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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