Image showing colorful ribbons for different cancers

In the next 25 years, 1.4 million Australians will die of cancer

Long-term projections of cancer incidence and mortality estimate the future burden of cancer in the population. They can be very useful in healthcare planning and resource management. A new study by the Daffodil Center, a joint venture between the NSW Cancer Council and the University of Sydney, aimed to estimate incidence and mortality rates and new cases and deaths by 2044 for all cancers combined in Australia.

The study shows that 1.45 million Australians will die of cancer in the next 25 years if governments do not respond, ie from 2020 to 2044, unless there is a large investment in prevention, early detection and patient care.

This is the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, which offers a plan for how cancer should be controlled and treated in the future. It also makes it possible to prioritize future cancer control policies and research according to where the highest burden is expected.

Between 2020 and 2044, more than 4.56 million more cancers are expected to be diagnosed. Despite the fact that 1.45 million Australians are likely to die by 2044, overall mortality is expected to fall by about 20%, a smaller decline than in the previous 25 years (30 percent).

Professor Karen Canfell, director of the Daffodil Center and chair of the Cancer Screening and Immunization Committee, said: “The study highlighted the magnitude of the expected cancer burden in Australia and how trends in future expected cases and deaths reflect successes, opportunities and future priorities.”

“Each of the 4.56 million individuals who could develop cancer in the future is a respected member of our community. Research is needed to support breakthroughs in prevention, treatment and care. Further investment is also needed to increase access to the most effective existing approaches, such as national screening programs. “

Lung cancer (43 percent in men and 31 percent in women) and melanoma are the two most common malignancies, with a dramatic decrease in mortality (49 percent in men and 28 percent in women). Some declines will mostly be due to well-established prevention strategies, such as tobacco control and sun protection, and improved treatment for these cancers.

Professor Karen Canfell, director of The Daffodil Center, said: “We could significantly improve these results … but only if we commit to investing in what we know works to prevent, detect and treat cancer, and fund more potentially life-saving cancer research.”

“Mortality rates are expected to decline at different rates for most cancers, with the exception of a few cancers that are expected to be relatively stable or increase. While this projected decline in overall cancer mortality is positive, we know that a 20% decline over the next 25 years is simply not enough. ”

“These results could significantly improve and potentially save hundreds of thousands of the expected 1.45 million lives that will be lost – but only if we invest in what we know works to prevent, detect and treat cancer, and fund more potentially life-saving cancer research. “

Professor Tanya Buchanan, CEO of Cancer Council Australia, remarked now is the time for governments to take action.

“Australia is facing an unprecedented increase in new cases of cancer, representing millions of people who will require treatment and care. The government must now act to help Australia improve this image across the community over the next 25 years.

Magazine link:

  1. Qingwei Luo et al. Cancer incidence and mortality in Australia from 2020 to 2044 and exploratory analysis of the potential effect of treatment delays during the COVID-19 pandemic: a statistical modeling study. DOI: 10.1016 / S2468-2667 (22) 00090-1

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