Cancer remains to be the main killer of Australians despite a declining trend in mortality and incidence of the disease, according to the latest figures from an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).
The AIHW reported that cancer was responsible for 27% of deaths in 1999, up from 25% in 1990 and 22% in 1980. Cancer accounted for 1 in 20 hospital patients in 2000 – 2001.
While incidence rates of all cancers rose slightly at an average of 0.3% for men and 0.8% for women, good news is that overall cancer mortality rates have been declining at an average of 1.1% per year for men and 1.0% per year for women since 1990.
There were 8243 new cases of melanoma in 1999 (causing about 1000 deaths a year), as well as 270,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer. Dr Chris Stevenson from the AIHW said, “On the other hand, the incidence of smoking-related cancers has fallen by in recent years, but cigarette smoking is still a major cause of cancer in Australia. It is estimated to have directly caused 10,619 new cases of cancer (12.9% of all new cases of cancer) and 7,554 deaths (21.8% of cancer deaths) in 1999.”
In 1999, the most common cancers diagnosed in men were prostate, colorectal, lung and skin cancer (melanoma). The report states that from 1990 to 1999 the prostate cancer mortality declined by an average of 1.4% per year. The mortality rates for both male and female colorectal cancer patients fell by 1.0% and 1.4% respectively. The mortality of lung cancer fell in men by 1.8% per year and rose in women by 0.9% per year from 1990 to 1999.
Breast cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, followed by colorectal, melanoma and lung cancer. From 1990 to 1999 the breast cancer mortality declined by an average of 1.9% per year. The incidence of melanoma among males increased between 1990 and 1999 on average by 2.5% and 1.6% in females.
(Source: Omnus Oncology)