CANCER now kills more Australians than any other disease.
It’s a shocking reality, but one that comes as no shock to at least one south-west woman.
“I am horrified but not surprised,” said Peter’s Project founder Vicki.
“It only reinforces our need for a cancer centre here in Warrnambool.”
A new report released from the World Health Organisation (WHO) this week revealed that cancer has overtaken heart disease as the nation’s biggest killer, claiming about 40,000 Australians each year.
In 2012, more than 10,000 Victorians died from cancer, about a thousand more than its nearest rival, heart disease.
Southwest Healthcare oncologist Dr Terri Hayes is another who is not surprised by the statistics.
“One-third of people diagnosed with cancer will need radiotherapy,” Dr Hayes said.
“It means there are 312 people diagnosed with cancer in Australia each day.”
Ms Jellie says a local cancer treatment centre would help cut that toll. “The sad fact is that some of these will die unnecessarily,” she said.
“One in three people in the south-west who need radiotherapy at the present time will choose not to have treatment because they don’t want to travel.
“In fact, in Victoria for every 100km you live away from a radiography centre your chances of dying increase by six per cent, meaning in Warrnambool you are 18 per cent more likely to die and in Portland it’s 24 per cent.”
The WHO figures show lung cancer is the biggest killer globally and also among men, while breast cancer claimed the most lives among women.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in Australia — as it is in south-west Victoria — with bowel cancer a close second.
Sobering news for sun-lovers is that Australians and New Zealanders are twice as likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than the rest of the world.
Doctors predict global cancer rates will increase by three-quarters over the next two decades, forecasting 20 million new cases by 2025.