The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has just released the “Cancer in Australia 2017” report. To summarise the report, it estimates the predicted rates of cancer diagnosis, the expected mortality from cancer and the top cancer killers.

To summarise the basic findings, it suggests there will be 134,000 cases of cancer diagnosed this year. It also made the interesting observation that in the early 1980s, the new cancer rates were 383 per 100,000 people, peaking at 504 per 100,000 people in 2008 but a predicted fall to 470 per 100,000 in 2017.

The report also made the interesting observation that the decrease in cancer rates is mainly due to less prostate cancer being diagnosed in males. The incidence of cancer is slightly higher in males than females, with prostate cancer being the most common diagnosis in males and breast cancer in females.

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image source: bbc.co.uk

Since the 1980s there has been a substantial improvement in 5 year survival rates from cancer improving from 48% up to 68%. This is clearly related to early diagnosis with better screening techniques and the increasing improvements in cancer therapy. The greatest survival improvements were seen in prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney cancer and multiple myeloma. Disappointingly, pancreatic cancer and lung cancer showed only minimal improvements whilst strangely bladder cancer and laryngeal cancer had a decrease in survival rates.

In terms of top cancer killers, lung cancer still comes in at number one, followed by colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and then pancreatic cancer. Death from melanoma comes in number six.

It is estimated that just under 48,000 people will die from cancer in 2017 which represents a reduction of death rates from 209 deaths per 100,000 people in 1982 to the predicted 161 deaths per 100,000 people this year.

There are significant positives to come from this information, most importantly, of course, being the improvement in survival rates. Cancer is still the second biggest cause of death and disability after cardiovascular disease but fortunately with the improvements in therapy and early diagnosis, we are now seeing much better survival rates.

Probably the most important point I can make around all this information is in the prevention of cancer. The best way, in my opinion, to prevent cancer is to use the organ for what it was designed. We are seeing the rates of prostate cancer reducing. To be rather blunt about this, it is my opinion that prostate cancer rates are decreasing, not through early detection but purely because as men age they tend to be using their prostates less often than previously. Since the advent of male enhancement products, this has allowed older men to continue sexual activity and thus allowing them to use the prostate gland for what it was designed.

Our commonest cancer killer, lung cancer, is clearly related mostly to cigarette smoking. This may come as a shock to you that the lungs were designed for a thing called breathing; not to put a white stick in your mouth and suck the smoke in. Of course, there will be some people diagnosed with lung cancer that have never smoked nor have lived with a smoker as there are certain types of cancer such as adenocarcinoma of the lung which has nothing to do with cigarette smoke.

The commonest diagnosed cancer in women, breast cancer, has increased significantly over the past 20–30 years. Let me make the point that I am not making a social comment here but purely a comment regarding human physiology. The female breast was not designed for the visual pleasure of males but actually designed to feed babies. It has been a known medical fact for many years that the rates of breast cancer increase with the longer the period between the onset of puberty and having your first child. Many women are now delaying pregnancy until over the age of 35 and this is one of the reasons we are seeing increasing rates of breast cancer. Another disturbing reason is the increasing exposure to oestrogen to prevent pregnancy and more pervasive, the ubiquitous presence of synthetic oestrogens in plastics, aluminium cans and a number of other common household products we are exposed to on a daily basis. Thus, the poor female breast is being flogged constantly with excessive and unnatural oestrogen which surely cannot be a good thing. There is also some work to suggest that even low doses of alcohol in predisposed women can increase breast cancer risk.

Our second commonest cancer killer, colorectal cancer, certainly does have a genetic basis but with the free availability of processed, package muck masquerading as food, commonly consumed in Western Society and especially with the over cooking of meats releasing polycyclic hydrocarbons and nitrosamines into the colon, it is no surprise that this is a particularly common cancer.

Thus, my main message here in highlighting this report is to try and simulate your physiology as much as possible. Use your organs wisely or they may stop working in the way they were designed.

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Dr Walker is an expert in the field of preventative cardiology and has published seven books. He gives lectures nationally and internationally.

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