SA early detection of cancer is saving lives

20 September, 2016

New data released recently has shown that the mortality rate from some of South Australia’s most common cancers, including colon, lung and prostate cancer, is declining.

Senior Medical Oncologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital Cancer Centre Professor Dorothy Keefe said that the Cancer in South Australia 2013 report highlights that the rates of colon cancer and lung cancer in both men and women, as well as prostate cancer in men, are reducing.

"Early detection tests that can identify cancer at an early stage, as well as advancements in treatments, are contributing to the reduced mortality rates," Professor Keefe said.

"The report demonstrates that many South Australians are taking heed of the messages that early detection can greatly increase the chance of successful treatment for some of our most common cancers.

"The report also shows early signs of a decline in newly diagnosed lung cancer cases in women for the first time in over 30 years, indicating that initiatives to reduce smoking in South Australia are working.

"It is encouraging that many of our targeted campaigns to reduce common cancers are having a positive effect."

The Cancer in South Australia reports are released annually to describe trends in cancer, as well as project incidence and mortality rates into the future.

While the 2013 report shows that mortality rates of some of South Australia’s most common cancers cancer declined, there were a total of 22 more deaths from cancer in 2013 than in 2012.

In 2013 more South Australians were also diagnosed with cancer, with figures increasing from 9,486 diagnoses in 2012 up to 9,717 in 2013.

"The reports give us a good indication of the impact cancer is having on the lives of South Australians," Professor Keefe said.

"As the population ages we are detecting more incidences of cancer and while sixty per cent of cancer in 2013 affected those aged 65 and over, the report is a good reminder to all South Australians that they should not be complacent towards cancer.

"Cancer often has no specific symptoms so it is important to limit risk factors and utilise appropriate screening programs.

"Measures like not smoking, avoiding the sun and keeping healthy can assist in cancer prevention, while utilising screening programs can improve early detection and survival rates."

The South Australian Cancer Registry has been collecting data since 1977 to evaluate the impact of testing and screening programs, as well as to enable research into cancer risk factors, unusual trends in cancer diagnoses and exceptional cancer risks.

To view the report, see the Cancer and Mortality Statistics page