Cancer still a concern


Cancer Council Victoria has revealed that 921 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yarra Ranges Shire each year and 278 locals lose their lives to the disease in new Victorian Cancer Registry Data released for World Cancer Day on Thursday 4 February.

Cancer is a leading cause of disease burden in Victoria with 98 new diagnoses each day – or one every 15 minutes.

Of the new cancer cases in the Yarra Ranges each year, 77 people are diagnosed with lung cancer on average, 80 with melanoma, 99 with bowel cancer, 126 with breast cancer and 169 with prostate cancer.

The new data that illustrates the cancer burden on the Yarra Ranges has been released to coincide with the global World Cancer Day, which has a theme this year of ’I Am and I Will’ and is all about you and your commitment to act. Supporters are encouraged to reflect on what they could do to reduce the impact of cancer for themselves, their community and the wider world.

Todd Harper, CEO of Cancer Council Victoria, said the Cancer Council is encouraging every Victorian to act this World Cancer Day.

“Whether it’s going to get your cancer screening done that you’ve been putting off, making a call to the Quitline, or remembering your hat and being SunSmart, there’s so many actions – big and small – that we can all take to reduce our cancer risk,” Mr Harper said.

“In 2020 many Victorians delayed general health check-ups and screening because they were nervous about visiting doctors due to Covid-19. I urge all Yarra Ranges locals that now is the time to put you and your health back at the top of your ‘to do’ list.”

One third of cancers can be prevented, with simple lifestyle changes such as getting checked, being SunSmart, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol, eating a balanced diet, being physically active and not smoking – these all help to reduce your risk.

Mr Harper said that cancer screening saves lives and is one of the most effective ways to detect the early signs of cancer, when successful treatment is more likely.

“We were concerned to see a drop in screening rates across the board last year due to Covid-19 restrictions, meaning cancers may be detected later when there may be fewer treatment options available. If you have received an invitation to participate in a cancer screening program, please do not delay.”

In 2019, 35,924 Victorians were diagnosed with cancer and 11,329 lost their lives to the disease. The five most common cancers in Victoria are prostate, breast, bowel, lung and melanoma, collectively accounting for 57 per cent of new cancers and 46 per cent of cancer deaths in 2019.

Anyone affected by cancer who may need information or support is encouraged to contact Cancer Council’s cancer nurses on 13 11 20.