THE number of Australians being diagnosed with cancer has almost doubled over the past two decades,but sufferers are increasingly likely to beat the disease.
An Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report released in Dec 2012 shows the number of new cancer cases grew from 66,000in 1991 to 114,000 in 2009. About 121,000 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer this year.
Prostate cancer is expected to be the most commonly reported cancer this year (18,560 cases), followed by bowel cancer, breast cancer, melanoma of the skin and lung cancer. Institute spokeswoman Lisa McGlynn said the increase in diagnoses was partly explained by the ageing and increasing size of the population.
Australia also has the highest incidence rate of prostate cancer (105 per 100,000), compared with that of other countries and regions using data from the GLOBOCAN database, which is prepared by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Prostate cancer was the second leading cause of cancer deaths among males (3,235 cases) compared with lung cancer (4,934 cases).
The age-standardised mortality rate of prostate cancer rose until 1993, where it peaked at 44 per 100,000. Since then the rate tended to fall, with a much sharper decline occurring in the 1990s than in the 2000s. By 2010, the mortality rate was 31 per 100,000,indicating an overall decrease of 30% between 1993 and 2010.
The fall partly due to early detection of prostate cancer cases by prostate-specific antigen testing. Improvements in general health and treatments for men may be other contributing factors leading to improved mortality rates.
The rise in incidence was accompanied by significant improvements in survival rates. For males diagnosed with prostate cancer the 5-year relative survival was 92%, and was highest for those aged 50-59 and 60-69 years.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Australasian Association of Cancer Registries 2012.
Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2012. Cancer series no. 74. Cat. no. CAN 70. Canberra: AIHW
• While evidence is accumulating, the epidemiology of prostate cancer is poorly understood, and, with the exception of family history, provides little guidance in identifying those individuals who might best benefit from early detection and treatment of localised prostate cancer.
• There is growing interest in dietary components such as selenium and phyto- oestrogens in the prevention of prostate cancer, although there is insufficient evidence to make firm dietary recommendations.
• Incidence of prostate cancer rose steadily in Australia during the early 1990s but now appears to have peaked.
• In the US a similar peak has been observed (earlier than the Australian peak), accompanied by an apparent recent decline in mortality rates from prostate cancer (see fig 1.2).
• US population data also show increased survival, and reductions in rates of late- stage disease.
• The detection of markers which can identify those localised prostate cancers which are destined to progress and cause morbidity and mortality has been the subject of intense research efforts in recent years; there is, however, no single prognostic parameter that is reliable in assessing prognosis, and the most appropriate approach remains unchanged–to review all clinical, imaging and histopathological findings together.
• The refinement and application of markers (either individual or combined) to predict outcome in prostate cancer remains one of the most important tasks for molecular biologists and epidemiologists..