Tens of thousands of lives saved in the running battle against cancers

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MORE than 61,000 people have been saved from dying of cancer in Australia over the past 20 years, due to improvements in screening, treatment and prevention, a Cancer Council report has found.

But it is mainly the ”high profile” cancers that have dropped, leaving rarer cancers behind, the report said.

“30% drop in cancer deaths between 1987 and 2007”

Director of the cancer research division at the Cancer Council Freddy Sitas said breast, lung and bowel cancers had seen big improvements.

”If you were in 1987, and you closed your eyes and woke up in 2007, overall you would see a 30 per cent drop in deaths,” he said. ”Everybody says we have got all this hope to find this magic cure … but in fact we have improved by 1½ per cent per annum.”

Despite huge amounts of money spent on new cancer drugs, the single biggest lifesaver was a drop in smoking rates among men- with more than 2100 fewer dying from lung cancer in 2007 alone than was expected based on 1987 rates. But Associate Professor Sitas said women’s smoking rates had peaked later, so they were still seeing the deadly results of the addiction. The report found just over 100 more women died in 2007 than would have been expected.

”The female epidemic lags about 10 years behind … so in about 10 years we are going to start seeing improvements,” he said.

There was good news for women – nearly 800 fewer breast cancer deaths than expected in 2007. Nearly 1800 fewer people died of bowel cancer.

Associate Professor Sitas said small numbers of rarer cancers meant they were much harder to study and develop treatments for…Read more

Source: smh.com.au

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The ONA Editor curates oncology news, views and reviews from Australia and around the world for our readers. In aggregated content, original sources will be acknowledged in the article footer.

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