If you don’t directly know someone battling cancer, there’s at least one person in your circle that does. Unfortunately, that’s the reality of cancer. It’s impossible not to be affected by it in some way.

When you look at new data released by Cancer Council Australia, it’s not surprising there’s limited degrees of separation when it comes to this devastating and life-changing illness.

The number of Queenslanders diagnosed with cancer has more than tripled in the past three decades. From 8,274 cases in 1982, to 26,335 cases in 2013.

We’re all aware of loved ones, of all ages, out there fighting it every day but these statistics paint a very clear picture.

Based on this data, “one in two Queenslanders will be diagnosed with cancer and one in seven will die from the disease before 80 years of age”.

According to Cancer Council Queensland (CCQ) chief executive Professor Jeff Dunn, cancer is the leading cause of “total disease burden and premature death in Queensland”.

“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,” he said.

“The leading cause of cancer death was lung cancer, causing 21 per cent of the 8,651 cancer deaths recorded.”

But, thankfully, he says it isn’t all bad news.


“While incidence may be increasing, our data shows more Queenslanders are surviving a cancer diagnosis today than at any other time in history,” Professor Dunn said.

“The latest snapshot of cancer in Queensland shows across all cancer types, the average five-year relative survival rate is 69.9 per cent.”

It’s something to remember.

The survival rates among some of the most common cancers are even higher. They include:

  • Thyroid cancer, which has the highest five-year survival at 97 per cent
  • Prostate cancer at 93.2 per cent
  • Melanoma at 92.9 per cent

What you can do to help prevent cancer in your community

The message CCQ wants to get out from releasing this data is that “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”.

“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,” Professor Dunn said.

“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.” 

If you’d like assistance getting started with any of these life changes, make an appointment with your local GP. Of course, House Call Doctor is here to help if you need a Doctor after hours on 135566.

And if you want to learn more, all the statistics are available online at CCQ’s website.