Staff Profile: A/Prof Freddy Sitas




A/Prof Freddy Sitas

Director, Cancer Research Division

Cancer Council NSW
PO Box 572
Kings Cross NSW 1340
Ph: 02 9334 1860
Fx: 02 8302 3550

Research Interests

Associate Professor Freddy Sitas obtained a BSc in 1981, an MSC(MED) in 1987 from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), an MSC in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in 1987, and a DPhil in Epidemiology from the University of Oxford in 1990. Part of his work showed for the first time that Helicobacter pylori is a cause of stomach cancer. He returned to South Africa in 1990 to the position of Head of the National Cancer Registry and in 1999 became Head of the South African MRC Cancer Epidemiology Research Group. In 2000, he was awarded a Readership in Epidemiology by the University of the Witwatersrand.

He was appointed Director of the Cancer Research Division at Cancer Council NSW in 2003.   His interests include cancer and mortality surveillance, viruses and cancer, and tobacco attributed disease.

Currently, Freddy manages our Cancer Causes Program and is a Chief Investigator on the Cervical Health Study, The Cancer Lifestyle, Evaluation And Risk Study (CLEAR), the Skin Health Study and the InterSCOPE study, amongst many others.

Following the publication of data from a study into what people think causes cancer, Freddy was interviewed, discussing how people often attribute cancer to factors outside their control, while not addressing the factors we know contribute to increased risk of cancer, which are within the control of every person.

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1990 – D.Phil, Epidemiology. University of Oxford
1987 – MSc Epidemiology. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
1987 – MSc(Med). University of Witwatersrand
1983 – BSc (Microbiology) Honours Equivalent. University of Witwatersrand
1981 – BSc (Botany & Microbiology). University of Witwatersrand

Publications 2008+

  1. Antoni S, Soerjomataram I, Moore S, Ferlay J, Sitas F, Smith DP, Forman D. The ban on phenacetin is associated with changes in the incidence trends of upper-urinary tract cancers in Australia. Aust NZ J Public Health 2014;38(5):455-458
  2. Sewram V, Sitas F, O’Connell D, Myers J.Diet and Oesophageal Cancer Risk in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Nutrition and Cancer 2014;66(5):791-799
  3. Sitas F, Weber MF, Egger S, Yap S, Chiew M, O’Connell D. Smoking cessation after cancer. J Clin Oncol 2014;32:3593-3595
  4. Weber M, Chiew M, Feletto E, Sitas F,  Webster L. Cancer screening among immigrants living in urban and regional Australia: results from the 45 and Up Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health 2014;11(8):8251-8266
  5. Norman RE, Ryan A, Grant K, Sitas F, Scott JG. Environmental Contributions to Childhood Cancers. Journal of Environmental Immunology and Toxicology 2014;2:86-98
  6. Feletto E, Gibberd A, Kahn C, Weber M, Chiew M, Supramaniam R, Velentzis L, Nickson C, Smith D, O’Connell D, Smith M, Armstrong K, Yu XQ, Canfell K, Robotin M, Penman A, Sitas F. The State of Cancer Control in Australia 1987-2007: Changes in cancer incidence and mortality. Sydney, Australia: Cancer Council NSW; 2013.
  7. Sitas F, Egger S, Bradshaw D, Groenwalkd P, Laubscher R, Kielkowski D, Peto R. Differences among the coloured, white, black and other South African populations in smoking-attributed mortality at ages 35-74 years: a case-control study of 481,640 deaths. Lancet 2013;382(9893):685-693.
  8. Sitas F, Gibberd A, Kahn C, Weber MF, Chiew M, Supramaniam R, Velentzis L, Nickson C, Smith DP, O’Connell D, Smith MA, Armstrong K, Yu XQ, Canfell K, Robotin M, Feletto E, Penman A. Cancer incidence and mortality in people aged less than 75 years: Changes in Australia over the period 1987-2007. Cancer Epidemiol. 2013;37(6):780-787
  9. Weber MF, Smith DP, O’Connell DL, Patel MI, de Souza PL, Sitas F, Banks E. Risk factors for erectile dysfunction in a cohort of 108,477 Australian men. Med J Aust 2013; 199 (2): 107-111.
  10. Feletto E, Sitas F, Gibberd A, Kahn C, Weber M, Grogan P, Chiew M, Supramaniam R, Velentzis L, Nickson C, Smith D, O’Connell D, Smith M, Armstrong K, Yu XQ, Canfell K, Robotin M, Penman A. The State of Cancer Control Summary. Cancer Council NSW. 2013.
  11. Weber MF, Cunich M, Smith DP, Salkeld G, Sitas F, O’Connell D. Sociodemographic and health-related predictors of self-reported mammogram, faecal occult blood test and prostate specific antigen test use in a large Australian study. BMC Public Health 2013;13(1):429
  12. Wakeham K, Newton R, Sitas F. Cancer in the Tropics. Chapter in Hunter’s Tropical Medicine and Emerging Infectious Diseases, 9th Edition. Magill AJ, Ryan ET, Hill DR, Solomon T (eds). London, Elsevier, 2013.
  13. Mayosi BM, Lawn JE, van Niekerk A, Bradshaw D, Abdool Karim SS, Coovadia HM, for the Lancet South Africa Team (incl Sitas F). Health in South Africa: changes and challenges since 2009. Lancet 2012;380:2029-2043.
  14. Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer (incl Sitas F). Menarche, menopause and breast cancer risk: individual participant meta-analysis, including 118,964 women with breast cancer from 117 epidemiological studies. Lancet Oncol 2012;13:1141-1151
  15. Collaborative Group on Epidemiological Studies of Ovarian Cancer (incl Sitas F). Ovarian cancer and smoking: individual participant meta-analysis including 23 114 women with ovarian cancer from the 51 epidemiological studies. Lancet Oncol 2012;13:946-956.
  16. Chiew M, Weber MF, Egger S, Sitas F. A cross-sectional exploration of smoking status and social interaction in a large population-based Australian cohort. Soc Sci Med 2012; 75: 77-86.
  17. Plummer M, Peto J, Franceschi S, International Collaboration of Epidemiological Studies of Cervical Cancer (incl Canfell K and Sitas F). Time since first sexual intercourse and the risk of cervical cancer.   Int J Cancer 2012; 130: 2638-2644.
  18. IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans (incl Sitas F). IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans: A Review of Human Carcinogens. Vol 100. Part B: Biological Agents. International Agency for Research on Cancer. 2012
  19. Sewram V, Sitas F, O’Connell D, Myers J, Klaassen L. Oesophageal Cancer in South Africa. Chapter in: Esophageal Cancer Epidemiology, Diagnosis and Treatment. Eslick G (Ed). Nova Science 2012. New York.
  20. Sitas F, Egger S, Urban MI, Taylor PR, Abnet CC, Boffetta P, O’Connell DL, Whiteman DC, Brennan P, Malekzadeh R, Pawlita M, Dawsey SM, Waterboer T, Webb PM, Green AC, Hayward NK, Zaridze D, Holcatova I, Mates D, Szeszenia-Dabrowska N, Ferro G, Janout V, Curado MP, Menezes AM, Koifman S, Islami F, Nasrollahzadeh D, Hu N, Goldstein AM, Gao Y, Ding T, Kamangar F. InterSCOPE Study: Associations Between Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Human Papillomavirus Serological Markers. J Natl Cancer Inst 2012; 104: 147-158.
  21. Urban M, Banks E, Egger S, Canfell K, O’Connell D, Beral V, Sitas F. Injectable and oral contraceptive use and cancers of the breast, cervix, ovary, and endometrium in black South african women: case-control study. PLoS Med 2012; 9: e1001182-
  22. Sitas F, Yu XQ, O’Connell D, Blizzard L, Otahal P, Newman L, Venn A. The relationship between basal and squamous cell skin cancer and smoking related cancers. BMC Res Notes. 2011; 4: 556-
  23. Weber MF, Banks E, Sitas F. Smoking in migrants in New South Wales, Australia: Report on data from over 100 000 participants in the 45 and Up Study. Drug Alcohol Rev 2011; 30: 597-605.
  24. Willcox SJ, Stewart BW, Sitas F. What factors do cancer patients believe contribute to the development of their cancer? (New South Wales, Australia). Cancer Causes Control 2011; 22: 1503-1511.
  25. Jiang J, Liu B, Sitas F, Zeng X, Chen J, Han W, Zou X, Wu Y, Zhao P, Li J. Case-spouse control design in practice: an experience in estimating smoking and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease deaths in Chinese adults. J Formos.Med Assoc 2010; 109: 369-377.
  26. Jiang J, Liu B, Sitas F, Li J, Zeng X, Han W, Zou X, Wu Y, Zhao P. Smoking-attributable deaths and potential years of life lost from a large, representative study in China. Tob Control 2010; 19: 7-12.
  27. Malope-Kgokong BI, Macphail P, Mbisa G, Ratshikhopha E, Maskew M, Stein L, Sitas F, Whitby D. Kaposi’s Sarcoma Associated-Herpes Virus (KSHV) Seroprevalence in Pregnant Women in South Africa. Infect Agent.Cancer 2010; 5: 14-
  28. Sitas F, O’Connell DL, van Kemenade CH, Short MW, Zhao K. Breast cancer risk among female employees of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Australia. Med J Aust 2010; 192: 651-654.
  29. Bouvard V, Baan R, Straif K, Grosse Y, Secretan B, El GF, brahim-Tallaa L, Guha N, Freeman C, Galichet L, Cogliano V, Monograph Working Group (Incl Sitas F). A review of human carcinogens–Part B: biological agents. Lancet Oncol 2009; 10: 321-322.
  30. Chopra M, Lawn JE, Sanders D, Barron P, Abdool Karim SS, Bradshaw D, Jewkes R, Abdool KQ, Flisher AJ, Mayosi BM, Tollman SM, Churchyard GJ, Coovadia H, and the Lancet South Africa Team Collaborators (Incl Sitas F). Achieving the health Millennium Development Goals for South Africa: challenges and priorities. Lancet 2009; 374: 1023-1031.
  31. Gill AJ, Johns AL, Eckstein R, Samra JS, Kaufman A, Chang DK, Merrett ND, Cosman PH, Smith RC, Biankin AV, Kench JG, For the NSW Pancreatic Network (incl Sitas F). Synoptic reporting improves histopathological assessment of pancreatic resection specimens. Pathology 2009; 41: 161-167.
  32. International Collaboration of Epidemiological Studies of Cervical Cancer (Incl Sitas F). Cervical Carcinoma and Sexual Behavior: Collaborative Reanalysis of Individual Data on 15,461 Women with Cervical Carcinoma and 29,164 Women without Cervical Carcinoma from 21 Epidemiological Studies. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2009; 18: 1060-1069.
  33. Mayosi BM, Flisher AJ, Lalloo UG, Sitas F, Tollman SM, Bradshaw D. The burden of non-communicable diseases in South Africa. Lancet 2009; 374: 934-947.
  34. Sitas F, O’Connell DL, Jamrozik K, Lopez AD. Smoking questions on the Australian death notification form: adopting international best practice? Med J Aust 2009; 191: 166-168.
  35. Weber MF, Banks E, Smith DP, O’Connell D, Sitas F. Cancer screening among migrants in an Australian cohort; cross-sectional analyses from the 45 and Up Study. BMC Public Health 2009; 9: 144-
  36. Zietsman A, Gariseb B, Rautenbach N, Pontac J, Johannesson I, Carrara H, Stein L, Sitas F, Ferlay J. Cancer in Namibia 2000-2005. Namibia. Cancer Association of Namibia, Windhoek 2009.
  37. Sitas F and O’Connell D. ABC Women’s Health Study: Breast cancer risk among Australian Broadcasting Corporation female employees. Cancer Council NSW, Sydney, 2009.