New international research shows the global cancer burden is set to increase more than 75 per cent by 2030, with a combination of lifestyle and demographic change behind the expected surge in cancer cases.
CEO of Cancer Council Australia, Professor Ian Olver, said the new research, published in The Lancet, coincided with Australia’s annual focus on increasing awareness of bowel cancer.
Professor Olver said a predicted 22.2 million cancers would be diagnosed globally in 2030 compared to 12.7 million in 2008, with bowel cancer a key reason for the increase, internationally and in Australia.
Australian data used for the study predicted bowel cancer deaths would more than double from around 4000 in 2008 to 8600 in 2030.
“Bowel cancer is a compelling case, because we are falling so far short of our potential to reduce deaths using proven measures in prevention and early detection,” Professor Olver said.
“The Government took a commendable step when Health Minister Tanya Plibersek announced $50 million in the budget to expand the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program.
“The key now is to get a lot more eligible people screening, so we can boost the program’s participation rate well above the current figure of around 40 per cent.
“We don’t have to look down the barrel at 8,600 Australians dying annually of bowel cancer in 18 years as if there is nothing we can do about it.”
Professor Olver said as well as being easy to treat if detected early, bowel cancer could be prevented through a healthy weight, eating well, exercising, not smoking and limiting alcohol.
“This is why raising bowel cancer awareness is so important,” he said. “We face a doubling of deaths by 2030, yet we could dramatically reduce this number if more Australians understand the benefits of prevention and early detection.”
Professor Olver said while population ageing was the main reason behind Australia’s increase in cancer burden, most of the global surge would occur in developing countries where people were adopting unhealthy Western lifestyles such as smoking, fast food and physical inactivity.