Cancers more than triple in Queensland over 31 years

The number of cancers diagnosed each year in Queensland has more than tripled in 31 years, new data shows.

Cancer Council has revealed cancer cases have increased from 8274 diagnosed in 1982 to 26,335 cases in 2013.

Cancer Council’s Cancer Research Centre has released 2013 data and trends (the latest available from the Queensland Cancer Registry) for incidence, survival, mortality and prevalence, providing the latest snapshot of cancer in Queensland.

The new data reveals one in two Queenslanders will be diagnosed with cancer and one in seven will die from the disease before 80 years of age.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO said cancer remained the leading cause of total disease burden and premature death in Queensland. “At the end of 2013, there were 87,993 Queensland cancer survivors who had been diagnosed with the disease in the previous five years,” Prof Dunn said.

“While incidence may be increasing, our data shows more Queenslanders are surviving a cancer diagnosis today than at any other time in history. The latest snapshot of cancer in Queensland shows across all cancer types, the average five-year relative survival rate is 69.9 per cent. Of the 10 most common cancers, thyroid cancer had the highest five-year survival at 97 per cent, followed by prostate cancer (93.2 per cent) and melanoma (92.9 per cent). Much poorer survival still exists for Queenslanders diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and lung cancer, at around eight and 16 per cent respectively.

“In 2013, the leading cause of cancer death was lung cancer, causing 21 per cent of the 8,651 cancer deaths recorded. Colorectal cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death, followed by prostate cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer. Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death among those aged 50 years and older, while colorectal cancer was the leading cause of cancer death among those aged less than 50 years.”

The latest snapshot of cancer in Queensland shows 26,335 cancers were diagnosed in 2013, with 8651 people dying from the disease statewide.

Prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2013, accounting for 15 per cent of all cancers, followed by melanoma, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer.

The latest data also revealed changes in trends over time, since 1982.

“Since 2008, the cancer incidence rate for males has been decreasing by one per cent per year,” Prof Dunn said. “The incidence rate for females has been increasing slightly by 0.6 per cent per year since 2004. Latest trends show that mortality rates are decreasing for many types of cancer, including prostate, breast, colorectal cancer, lung cancer in males, cervical cancer in females and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In contrast, liver cancer mortality increased among both sexes, melanoma mortality increased among males, and pancreatic cancer mortality among females.”

Cancer Council urged Queenslanders to play their part in reducing risks of preventable cancers. “We all have a role to play in cancer control – to reduce community risks, enable early detection, ensure access to lifesaving treatment, and support the growing number of Queenslanders who are surviving this disease,” Prof Dunn said.

“Assuming current rates remain stable, by 2021 it is estimated that over 34,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed each year in Queensland, placing an even greater burden on our community and the health system. While survival rates are improving, we know that one third of all cancers diagnosed every year can be prevented. Queenslanders should participate in recommended cancer screening, quit smoking, eat healthily, exercise, maintain a healthy weight, stay SunSmart and limit alcohol intake to reduce the risk of preventable cancers.”

The 2013 Cancer Research Centre data is available online at


Gold Coast Ironman to tackle The March Charge to obliterate cancer

Gold Coast Ironman Jackson Maynard is motivating Queenslanders to lead active lives while helping obliterate cancer this March.

The 23-year-old is calling on all locals looking for a new fitness challenge to take down cancer this March by enlisting in The March Charge.

The March Charge invites Queenslanders to sign up and run, swim or ride as many kilometres as possible during the month of March to help obliterate cancer.

Jackson Maynard said he was inspired to support Cancer Council Queensland after he overcame stage 2 melanoma in 2010. “I was diagnosed with melanoma in 2010, and shortly after that I was diagnosed with Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome and had to undergo heart surgery,” he said.“I’ve faced difficult times – but I got through it and I want to inspire others to do the same.”

He continued: “I’m proud to be an official ambassador for The March Charge campaign this year to share my love of health and fitness, to take a stand against cancer and support and inspire those affected, and importantly – to get more Queenslanders involved.”

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said participants would reduce their own cancer risk while raising funds to support others impacted by the disease. “Up to one third of cancers can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle, including being physically active every day, enjoying a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy body weight,” Ms Clift said. “The March Charge is a personal challenge – not a race or event – that will allow you to tackle cancer head on while boosting your own health.”

Cancer Council Queensland recommends all Queenslanders participate in 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity every day to reduce cancer risk. Investing in just 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day is good for your health, and 60 minutes can reduce your risk of developing cancer. Evidence also suggests the more exercise you do, the lower your risk of cancer – especially if it’s more vigorous physical activity.

The March Charge is flexible – participants can run, swim or ride as far as they want, where they want and when they want, sharing their progress across the month online and raising funds for the cause. Queenslanders can enlist for free for the March Charge now, nominating the kilometres they want to tackle in their own time and their own way at

Money raised from Cancer Council’s The March Charge helps fund world-class cancer research, prevention and advocacy programs, and support services to help those affected by cancer at every part of their journey.

Queenslanders can enlist now at


Hugh Jackman has fifth skin cancer removed from face

Hugh Jackman has taken to social media to warn people about the importance of sun protection, after having another skin cancer removed from his face.

The 47-year-old has just had a basal cell carcinoma removed from his nose – which is the fifth skin cancer he has had removed since 2013.

The Wolverine star shared a photo of his nose bandaged up on social media following the procedure to urge his fans to take care in the sun.

“An example of what happens when you don’t use sunscreen. Basal cell. Mildest form of cancer. USE SUNSCREEN PLEASE !!” he wrote on Twitter.

Jackman has has previously said his condition is a result of not wearing sunscreen while growing up in Australia. In 2013, he told The Hollywood Reporter: “I’m an Aussie, we have to get checked but everyone should get checked. Particularly if you’re my age. If you’re 21 or older, you just go and get checked. It’s simple.”

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, with almost 300,000 cases diagnosed in Australia every year.

Workers affected by cancer offered specialised support

Queensland employees distressed by cancer now have greater access to specialised psychological support, thanks to a partnership raising awareness of cancer-related stress in the workplace.

AccessEAP has joined forces with Cancer Council Queensland to offer specialised face-to-face or telephone counselling to their customer’s employees and families affected by cancer.

CEO of AccessEAP, Sally Kirkright, said employees and their families would be able to access this specialised counselling service via their Employee Assistance Program.

“AccessEAP provides EAP services to assist employees and their families through many of life’s challenges,” Ms Kirkright said.

“Unfortunately cancer diagnosis and treatment is something that many workers and their families will face. Having an employer who is supportive and offers real assistance can make a big difference at this time.

“This partnership allows AccessEAP to offer customers a service that is tailored to the specific needs and challenges posed by cancer.”

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said it was important for Queenslanders to have access to support for cancer-related distress through their workplace.

“Workplaces have a responsibility to offer support, resources and assistance to any employee affected by cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“Our aim through this partnership is also to raise awareness within the workplace of cancer-related distress, and its effects on employees and their families.

“Those who are struggling to deal with cancer-related concerns require the support of their employers, colleagues, and the community.

“We encourage all eligible Queensland workers affected by cancer to reach out for support through this partnership.

“We are proud to be partnering with AccessEAP to get more Queenslanders the advice, psychological intervention and support they need to cope.”

Queenslanders affected by cancer can call Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm for advice, support and referrals to cancer counselling.

Everyday Health Survey to help manage Queensland’s obesity epidemic

Queensland is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Around 65 per cent of Queensland adults and 27 per cent of Queensland children currently weigh in as overweight or obese.

On current trends, around three million Queenslanders will be overweight or obese by 2020, increasing their risk of chronic disease, including certain cancers.

It’s a statistic public health experts want to change, so they have today’s launched Queensland’s first population-wide Everyday Health Survey.

The survey seeks to evaluate individual diet and lifestyle habits in order to improve community health and wellbeing. The survey focuses on factors such as nutrition, food marketing, and consumer psychology and behaviour.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift called on Queenslanders aged 18 and over to complete the online survey and test their everyday health. “Our Everyday Health Survey will inform the development of targeted strategies to help all Queenslanders live healthier, happier and more empowered lives,” Ms Clift said.

“We want to get a snapshot of how Queenslanders access information about healthy eating and what changes they would like to see in the community to help improve dietary habits.

“Understanding what influences food choices, how Queenslanders prepare meals and the biggest barriers to healthy eating are crucial to help us take action and support our State to get healthy.

“Survey respondents will also have their say on food marketing practices – including marketing to children, social marketing and the positioning of unhealthy food to encourage sales.

“The Everyday Health Survey also seeks to better understand any interactions between mental health, diet and physical activity, and how food habits may be affected by mood.

“This comprehensive study will allow us to take action, develop initiatives and strategies to help the community lead healthier lives, and guide the development of future research.”

Queenslanders can complete Cancer Council’s Everyday Health Survey online at The survey closes on 29 February. Participants will be able to request a copy of survey answers and findings once they have completed the anonymous test.