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World Cancer Day: Not Beyond Us

Cancer is the most common cause of death worldwide and the major cause of illness in Australia. Today is World Cancer Day and the theme is ‘Not Beyond Us’, emphasising that it is within our reach to reduce the burden of cancer on our community.

Approximately 128,000 Australians were diagnosed with cancer last year, and this number is expected to rise to 150,000 by 2020.

Cancer Australia CEO, Professor Helen Zorbas, said that the World Cancer Day theme encourages people to be mindful about how their lifestyle choices can impact upon their risk for cancer.

“Australia is a world leader in cancer control, and Australians experience among the highest cancer survival rates in the world. Despite this, one in two Australians will have developed cancer and one in five will have died from cancer before the age of 85.

“It is estimated, however, that at least one third of all cancer cases are preventable and more than half of all cancers could potentially be avoided through a combination of a healthy lifestyle and regular screening,” said Professor Zorbas.

There are four sub-themes for this year’s World Cancer Day: Healthy Life Choices, Early Detection, Treatment for All and Quality of Life.

Healthy Life Choices

Statistics show that the risk of cancer can be substantially reduced with the widespread adoption of simple healthy lifestyle recommendations.

Cancer Australia recommends quitting smoking, being sun smart, maintaining a healthy diet, getting active and limiting alcohol intake to reduce an individual’s risk of developing cancer.

Early Detection

Cancer outcomes can vary according to when the cancer is detected.  Australia’s national screening programs for breast, cervical and bowel cancers have been effective in the early detection and treatment of cancer, improving cancer outcomes for participants.

Cancer Australia encourages all Australians to actively engage in cancer screening programs to further improve cancer outcomes.

Treatment for All

Cancer outcomes also vary according to remoteness of location, socioeconomic status and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent.

Cancer Australia works with various organisations to address the disparities and improve cancer outcomes of people in rural, regional and indigenous communities.

Quality of Life

Cancer can have a serious impact on the emotional and physical states of those affected by cancer. Even those who have overcome the cancer itself are at risk of diminished quality of life.

Cancer Australia is committed to consulting with cancer patients and their families for the best care following diagnosis and after recovery from cancer. Cancer Australia continues to support programs which help those affected by cancer with the practical aspects of diagnosis, finding support and managing the physical and emotional changes associated with cancer.

Globally, the cancer burden is also rising, with 8.2 million people dying from cancer in 2012, almost half of which are between the ages of 30 – 69 years.  It is the message of World Cancer Day that all of us can make practical changes in our daily lives to reduce the prevalence of cancer.  It is Not Beyond Us.


For further information on World Cancer Day, go to Cancer Australia's World Cancer Day page  or visit

For all media enquiries, please contact Amy Cook at Cancer Australia on (02) 9357 9401, 0438 209 833 or