The good news? Despite more cases, since 1982, the death rate has fallen by more than 24 per cent and more than 66 per cent of patients in Australia will survive more than five years after diagnosis.
While the improvement is stats is comforting, there are still more cases that are preventable.
This year, on World Cancer Day, the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) has highlighted the lack of cancer awareness in Australia
Their report titled, International Public Opinion Survey on Cancer 2020: What people feel, think and believe about cancer today, found that everyday Aussies had different levels of knowledge when it came to cancer risk and as a result, were putting themselves at risk of the deadly disease.
According to the findings, those in lower income brackets were less likely to recognise cancer risk factors compared to their higher-income peers.
Across the board, tobacco use (63 per cent), exposure to harmful UV rays (54 per cent) and exposure to tobacco smoke from others (50 per cent) were the most recognised factors that can increase a person’s risk of cancer.
However, certain risk factors weren’t recognised as highly as they should be: lack of exercise (28 per cent), exposure to certain viruses or bacteria (28 per cent) and being overweight (29 per cent) were widely dismissed.
Chief Executive Officer, Union for International Cancer Control, Dr Cary Adams says is fed up that these attitudes continue to happen.
“It is unacceptable that millions of people have a greater chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, because they are simply not aware of the cancer risks to avoid and the healthy behaviours to adopt – information that many of us take for granted. And this is true around the world,” Dr Cary Adams says.
And you don’t need to overhaul your lifestyle overnight. The ‘I Am and I Will’ campaign is asking Australians to make a big or small commitment to change their way of living. The UICC recommends that everyone:
- Use World Cancer Day as an opportunity to improve your understanding of cancer risk factors and share your knowledge with others
- Make a personal commitment to reduce your cancer risks like quitting smoking, eating healthily, exercising regularly, and using sunscreen
- Take advantage of what your health system can provide, including getting a check-up, getting screened, and getting vaccinated