New figures give hope on World Cancer Day

THE number of Australians who have survived or are living with cancer has exceeded one million for the first time, according to new estimates from the Cancer Council.

Which, according to Cancer Council NSW Northern Region's Sarah Royall, is good news.

She said the estimate of 1.1 million, released today on World Cancer Day, reflected the fact that more people than ever were surviving cancer.

"The main reason behind the increased cancer prevalence is Australians are living longer and cancer survival has improved," said Ms Royall.

"Over 45,000 people in NSW are predicted to be diagnosed with cancer this year. The latest data shows that around 2 in 3 people diagnosed with cancer in NSW are alive five years later, with many going into permanent remission."

Ms Royall said that with an increasing number of Australians now impacted by cancer, the need for support was greater than ever - which is where Cancer Council NSW comes in.

"This year's World Cancer Day theme is "We Can. I Can." and highlights how communities and individuals can help to reduce the worldwide cancer burden," Ms Royall said.

"We want to remind anyone impacted by cancer, including carers, about Cancer Council's free Information and Support service, 13 11 20, where you can talk to our specially trained staff and find out about our support programs, resources and information."

However, Ms Royall said that despite the good news of continued cancer survivorship in Australia, this World Cancer Day it was also important to remind individuals of all ages of how they could help reduce their risk and detect cancer early.

"A third of cancers are caused by lifestyle factors. Everyone can help reduce their cancer risk by living a healthy lifestyle - quit smoking, maintain a healthy diet, exercise, reduce your alcohol intake and be SunSmart - particularly at this time of year.

"It's also important that Australians be aware of cancer signs and symptoms and if in the right age ranges, participate in screening programs for bowel, cervical and breast cancer."

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