Surge in cancer patients by 72 per cent by 2040

The number of Australians living with or beyond cancer is expected to increase by 72 per cent in the next 22 years, Cancer Council has revealed this week in a report released ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4.

The report shows the increase in the number of people surviving cancer will lead to almost 1.9 million people living with a personal history of cancer by 2040. That’s an increase from one in 22 people today, to one in 18 in the next 22 years.

Experts say this rise can be attributed to the country’s growing and ageing population, as well as increasing cancer survival rates, thanks to better prevention, early detection and research.

Professor Sanchia Aranda, Cancer Council Australia CEO and President of the Union for International Cancer Control, says that while survival rates are improving, the figures highlight some unique challenges for cancer control, management and support services for the future.

“While the majority (64 per cent) of the 1.9 million Australians who’ve been diagnosed with cancer by 2040 will have lived more than five years beyond diagnosis, a substantial proportion will have been recently diagnosed and will be undergoing treatment, and others may be living with advanced cancer. The data also highlight the fact that the poorest members of our community have lower survival rates, reinforcing the need to pay greater attention to cancer in harder-to-reach populations.”

The research released yesterday (Thursday, February 1) shows there will be more men living with or beyond cancer than women, and that more than half of people who have been diagnosed with cancer in 2040 will be aged 70 years or older.

Professor Aranda says the new figures highlight the increasing need for support services for people affected by cancer, particularly older Australians.