Updated: 19:59, Sunday June 24, 2012
Australia’s indigenous communities need their own Kylie Minogue to help boost cancer survival rates, a leading figure in cancer research says.
NSW Cancer Institute deputy CEO Sanchia Aranda, who oversaw a report released on Sunday that found survival rates across the state have steadily increased over five years, said community reluctance to take basic screening precautions was costing lives.
‘I do think it is part of this belief that, you know, people would rather not know,’ Professor Aranda said.
The report revealed NSW people diagnosed with cancer now have a 64.4 per cent survival rate, compared to less than a one-in-two chance of surviving three decades ago.
If a cancer is detected before it has spread, the survival rate after five years jumps to 84 per cent.
Breast cancer survival is at 88.3 per cent, but this increases to 97 per cent if the disease is diagnosed early.
Prof Aranda said some people did not seek medical attention until it was too late because they feared nothing could be done, and unwillingness or inability to be screened for cancer warning signs could be pushing down cancer survival rates in regional NSW and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in particular.
Indigenous role models publicly talking about beating cancer could play a role in showing these communities that many types of cancer need not be death sentences, she said.
‘We are close in some cancers to this being a treatable disease or a chronic disease that people live with for many years,’ she said.
‘Everyone identified with Kylie Minogue – and now Kerri-Anne Kennerley – when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
‘And these high-profile survivors make a difference to screening and survival rates.’
Overall survival after five years is now greater than 90 per cent for cancers of the prostate, testes, thyroid, lip and skin melanoma.
The report found that people diagnosed with cancer of unknown primary origin, oesophagus, liver, lung, mesothelioma and pancreas have less than a 20 per cent chance of survival.
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Article source: http://www.skynews.com.au/health/article.aspx?id=764483&vId=