Australian cancer prevalence exceeds 1 million

4 February 2016 | Kathy Chapman

Cancer stats Australia

With new estimates from Cancer Council showing the number of Australians living with cancer or having survived a diagnosis has exceeded 1 million for the first time[i], Cancer Council NSW is calling for more Australians to help take action this World Cancer Day.

This year’s World Cancer Day theme is “We Can. I Can.” and highlights how communities and individuals can help to reduce the worldwide cancer burden.

The main reason behind the increased cancer prevalence is Australians are living longer and more people than ever are surviving cancer.

Over 45,000 people in NSW are predicted to be diagnosed with cancer this year[ii]. (Ref:) The latest data shows that around 2 in 3 people diagnosed with cancer in NSW are alive five years later, with many going into permanent remission[iii].

World-Cancer-Day_With an increasing number of Australians now impacted by cancer, the need for support is greater than ever, and Cancer Council can help.

We want to remind anyone impacted by cancer, including carers, about Cancer Council’s free Information and Support service, 13 11 20, where you can talk to our specially trained staff and find out about our support programs, resources and information.

Last year in NSW, 13 11 20 answered more than 12,000 calls from cancer patients and their carers across the state.

Cancer survivors can also volunteer for Cancer Connect, our peer support program, so they can share their experience and provide emotional support and assistance to their peers.

Last year Cancer Council NSW connected 374 people impacted by cancer with 116 cancer survivors across 24 cancer types– but with survivorship increasing more volunteers are still needed.

Despite the good news of continued cancer survivorship in Australia, this World Cancer Day it is also important to remind individuals of all ages of how they can help reduce their risk and detect cancer early.

A third of cancers are caused by lifestyle factors. Everyone can help reduce their cancer risk by living a healthy lifestyle – quit smoking, maintain a healthy diet, exercise, reduce your alcohol intake and be SunSmart – particularly at this time of year.

It’s also important that Australians be aware of cancer signs and symptoms and if in the right age ranges, participate in screening programs for bowel, cervical and breast cancer.

Australians wanting more information on cancer support, prevention, detection, or who are interested in volunteering with Cancer Connect should call 13 11 20.

World Cancer Day is an international event coordinated by the Union for International Cancer Control. For more information head to

[i] Prevalence estimated by Cancer Council NSW’s Cancer Research Division with extrapolation of published data (2004, 2007 and 2009) and Australian estimated population numbers.

[ii] Cancer incidence and mortality: projections 2011 to 2021 Cancer Institute NSW, Sydney: May 2011

[iii] Ref: Cancer in NSW: Incidence and Mortality 2008