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14 Facts About Cancer Every Australian Should Know

The good news is, there are lots of ways we can try to beat it. Find out more with Cancer Council NSW.

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1. One-third of all cancers in Australia are preventable.

That's 37,000 cases of cancer that could be avoided in Australia every year.
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That's 37,000 cases of cancer that could be avoided in Australia every year.

2. And the most effective way of beating cancer? Preventing it in the first place.

Nutrition and body weight management, skin cancer prevention, and stopping smoking are the key areas of focus for preventing cancer as identified by Cancer Council NSW, and there are a number of programs in place to help reduce the risk.
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Nutrition and body weight management, skin cancer prevention, and stopping smoking are the key areas of focus for preventing cancer as identified by Cancer Council NSW, and there are a number of programs in place to help reduce the risk.

3. Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.

OK, so, yes, we all love the beach. But the concerning fact is that two in three Aussies will develop some kind of skin cancer before they turn 70. The good news? It doesn't have to be the case. For starters, remember to slip, slop, and slap. Then read up more on how to prevent skin cancer here.
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OK, so, yes, we all love the beach. But the concerning fact is that two in three Aussies will develop some kind of skin cancer before they turn 70. The good news? It doesn't have to be the case. For starters, remember to slip, slop, and slap. Then read up more on how to prevent skin cancer here.

4. Aboriginal Australians are more likely to die from cancer than non-Aboriginal Australians.

The risk is alarmingly (60%) higher, and cancer is the second-highest cause of death for Aboriginal people. Find out more about support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and closing the gap here.
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The risk is alarmingly (60%) higher, and cancer is the second-highest cause of death for Aboriginal people. Find out more about support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and closing the gap here.

5. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer affecting Aussie women.

It's to blame for 28% of all cancers in women, with over 14,000 women diagnosed in Australia every year. Finding breast cancer early gives people the best chance of beating it – that's why checking your breasts is so important.
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It's to blame for 28% of all cancers in women, with over 14,000 women diagnosed in Australia every year. Finding breast cancer early gives people the best chance of beating it – that's why checking your breasts is so important.

6. Women living in rural NSW are at a bigger risk of dying from breast cancer than those living in Sydney.

A Cancer Council NSW study found that despite the overall improvement in breast cancer survival rates from 81% to nearly 90%, the rate was consistently lower in rural and remote areas.
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A Cancer Council NSW study found that despite the overall improvement in breast cancer survival rates from 81% to nearly 90%, the rate was consistently lower in rural and remote areas.

7. Smoking poses the biggest risk factor for preventable cancer.

Tobacco smoking is to blame for 1 in 5 cancer deaths in Australia, and, unsurprisingly, lung cancer is the type most commonly caused by smoking. If you're thinking about quitting (yay!) support is always available.
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Tobacco smoking is to blame for 1 in 5 cancer deaths in Australia, and, unsurprisingly, lung cancer is the type most commonly caused by smoking. If you're thinking about quitting (yay!) support is always available.

8. Most people will recover from the harmful effects of smoking if they quit before the age of 35.

Your body begins to repair itself as soon as you stop smoking. However, research has shown that smokers who continue to smoke after they turn 35 will lose an average of three months of their life for every year they keep up the habit.
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Your body begins to repair itself as soon as you stop smoking. However, research has shown that smokers who continue to smoke after they turn 35 will lose an average of three months of their life for every year they keep up the habit.

9. Eating the right amount of fruit and veg is one of the most important things people can do to reduce their risk of cancer.

It's estimated that up to 4% of all cancers could be prevented by eating the recommended amount of fruit, veg, and fibre. Now pass the broccoli, please?
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It's estimated that up to 4% of all cancers could be prevented by eating the recommended amount of fruit, veg, and fibre. Now pass the broccoli, please?

10. Aussie men have a higher risk of dying from preventable cancers (that affect both sexes) than women do.

That's 84%, or roughly 6,900 more men than women, every year. This has been attributed to the fact that, generally, guys don't talk about their health and lifestyle choices as often and are less likely to visit their GP. So lads, please, don't be afraid to open up.
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That's 84%, or roughly 6,900 more men than women, every year. This has been attributed to the fact that, generally, guys don't talk about their health and lifestyle choices as often and are less likely to visit their GP. So lads, please, don't be afraid to open up.

11. BUT some research suggests masturbating could reduce the risk of prostate cancer. So that's good news?!

This 2003 study found that the more frequently men aged 20–50 ejaculated, the lower their risk of developing prostate cancer became.
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This 2003 study found that the more frequently men aged 20–50 ejaculated, the lower their risk of developing prostate cancer became.

12. There are possible links between sitting for long periods and an increased risk of some cancers.

If you needed another reason to stand up for people on the train, some research suggests being sedentary (aka sitting/sleeping/not moving) for long periods is associated with a higher risk of cancers such as bowel, endometrial, prostate, and ovarian. That's regardless of how much overall physical activity a person does.
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If you needed another reason to stand up for people on the train, some research suggests being sedentary (aka sitting/sleeping/not moving) for long periods is associated with a higher risk of cancers such as bowel, endometrial, prostate, and ovarian. That's regardless of how much overall physical activity a person does.

13. However, there's no solid evidence to suggest mobile phones cause cancer.

Good news for the phone addicts – there have been numerous studies on the topic, and the majority haven't found any link between mobile phone usage and cancer. However, as with most things, there's always a small possibility of risk, which stops it from being completely ruled out.
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Good news for the phone addicts – there have been numerous studies on the topic, and the majority haven't found any link between mobile phone usage and cancer. However, as with most things, there's always a small possibility of risk, which stops it from being completely ruled out.

14. But no matter what the circumstance, no one should face cancer alone.

Whether you're a patient, carer, friend, or family member, you don't have to go through cancer alone. Get support here.
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Whether you're a patient, carer, friend, or family member, you don't have to go through cancer alone. Get support here.

All facts provided by Cancer Council NSW.

Cancer Council NSW invests heavily in research, support, prevention, and advocacy to help beat cancer. Find out more about their work here.

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