Australians are getting better at detecting cancer

Andrew Munro 30 March 2017 NEWS

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More than half of Australians over 50 are now taking recommended cancer tests.

Compared to only a few years ago, Australians are now safer from cancer than ever before. This is thanks to a significant uptake in cancer screenings, with 8.1 million Australian adults being tested within the last two years, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

For women over the age of 50, the rate of breast cancer testing has jumped from 64% in 2011-2012 to 77% in 2014-2015. The cervical cancer testing rate has gone from 60% to 71% in the same time period and bowel cancer testing rates have almost doubled, going from 27% to 49%.

For men over 50, prostate cancer testing has increased from 48% to 58%, with bowel cancer testing also jumping enormously from 27% to 49%.

The increase in cancer testing is thought to be one of the reasons why the number of cancer deaths are down, despite diagnoses being up. Catching it early is one of the most important factors in surviving cancer.

The uptake in health insurance is also likely to have played a role. Being able to access cancer treatments under health insurance may ensure that a high level of care is delivered to patients, while many health insurance extras policies can help pay for preventative measures such as cancer screenings.

The significant recent advances in medical technology and treatments are still largely dependent on catching the disease early enough, so the steady uptake in cancer screenings is good news for all Australians.

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Picture: Shutterstock

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