Research has driven significant improvements in cancer prevention, early detection, screening and treatment. As a result, over the last two decades nearly 107,000 Australian lives have been saved. This has been possible with the help of people like you, our supporters, who help us fund and conduct world-class research.
Cancer Council NSW researchers have investigated cancer data in Australia between 1996-2015 to identify how this amazing result has been achieved. Here are the three most significant milestones that have helped us get to where we are today.
1. Reducing smoking rates
Australia’s tobacco control measures have successfully reduced smoking rates over the years. Previous studies have found that these measures have prevented 79,000 deaths from lung cancer alone between 1956 and 2015. Smoking rates have continued to fall, leading to major reductions in lung cancer death over the past 20 years.
Reducing smoking rates has also led to fewer deaths for many other cancer types, too, including:
head and neck
oesophagus for females
For more information about how to quit smoking, click here.
2. Screening programs saving lives
Australia’s national screening programs for breast, bowel and cervical cancer have also made a huge impact on reducing cancer incidence and deaths. Notably, breast screening of women in Australia aged 50-69 years has reduced the mortality rate from breast cancer by 21-28%.
With further research, we could also become the first country in the world to introduce a screening program for lung cancer.
3. Improved cancer treatments leading to better outcomes
In the past two decades, various improvements in earlier interventions and cancer treatments have been discovered, including the development of more tailored and targeted therapies. These treatment advances have improved outcomes, extended survival, and lessened treatment side-effects.
As a result, the number of deaths for most cancer types have declined, particularly for the most common cancer types such as bowel (colorectal), prostate and breast cancers.
You can learn more about the groundbreaking cancer research we fund and conduct here.
More work is needed
As you can see, we’ve made tremendous advances in cancer prevention, early detection, screening and treatment which has led to more lives being saved over the last 20 years. But there’s still so much more work to be done to further reduce the impact of cancer on Australians in the next 20 years. While there have been significant improvements for many types of cancer, the survival rates for some cancers, like pancreatic cancer, have remained low.
At Cancer Council NSW, we are committed to conducting and funding world-class research that saves lives and improves outcomes for all cancer patients. With your generosity, you can help bring us closer to a cancer free future.