Greater hope for cancer sufferers

CANCER survival rates in Australia are improving, a report released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has revealed.

The report, released on Thursday, showed five-year survival from all cancers increased from 47% to 66% in the period 1982-1987 to 2006-2010.

"While overall cancer survival is improving in Australia, variations still exist between types of cancer," said AIHW spokesperson Anne Bech.

The cancers with the largest survival gains between 1982-1987 and 2006-2010 were kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and prostate cancer.

While five-year survival from prostate cancer increased considerably, from 58% to 92%, explaining this trend was difficult, with complex issues around early detection using PSA testing.

Four cancers did not show any significant changes in survival over this time: cancers of the lip, larynx, brain and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Women (67%) generally had slightly higher survival rates than men (65%), and younger people generally had higher survival than older people.

The report also showed that for people with cancer who had survived five years past their diagnosis, survival prospects were very positive at more than 90% for the next five years (for all cancers combined).

Almost 775,000 Australians have a history of cancer (3.6% of the population), including one in five Australians aged over 80.

Topics:  cancer health lifestyle

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