New research provides complete picture of cancer mortality burden

In an Australian first, Queensland researchers have used a new measure to provide a more complete picture of the mortality burden associated with a cancer diagnosis.

The study*, which looked at survival patterns across 13 types of cancer and a population-based cohort of over 2 million Australian cancer patients, was led by Cancer Council Queensland researchers.

The release of the findings coincides with the 33rd anniversary of Cancer Council’s Daffodil Day on Friday (August 23).

The standard measure of survival, known as relative survival, ignores the possibility that a person diagnosed with cancer may also die of causes other than their diagnosed cancer.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan explained that the new measure used in the study, crude probability of death, allows the real risk of cancer death within ten years of cancer diagnosis to be estimated.

“The observed reductions over three decades in the probabilities of death due to cancer among Australian cancer patients are encouraging,” Ms McMillan said.

“However, this study also highlights that cancer still causes the premature death of many Australians, particularly those diagnosed with lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer or leukaemia, along with cervical cancer among females, where more than 50 per cent of patients die of their cancer within 10 years of diagnosis.

“These results highlight the need for continuing efforts to improve cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

“While the specific causes of improvements in survival are complex, they are consistent with advances in diagnostic methods and treatment options once a cancer is diagnosed. These advances only happen through research.

“This Daffodil Day, we’re calling on the community to donate towards our next three decades of cancer control.

“The number of Australians living with or beyond cancer is expected to increase by a staggering 73 per cent in the next 22 years and we urgently need community donations to invest in ongoing research towards saving more lives.

“The daffodil is the international symbol of hope – we can all give more than hope to those affected by cancer simply by supporting the cause.”

Australians are encouraged to donate online this August, or at sites across the country on Daffodil Day.

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