Cancer testing rises, but more is needed | Graph

The number of people getting tested for breast and bowel cancer is increasing, but still not meeting national recommendations.

Statistics highlighted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the lead up to Daffodil Day show about 61.1 per cent of the adult population had been tested for cancer during their life  – almost 11 million Australians – in 2014/15. It’s an increase from 2011/12 when 54.7 per cent of the population had been tested.

From Narromine to areas like Sydney, ABS director health Louise Gates said the statistics are static.

“The main differences between country and city or socioeconomics is that we find areas with older populations have higher rates or cancer and areas with a young population have lower rates. It’s different to other diseases like diabetes where there is higher rates in regional areas. Cancer is a bit more nondiscriminatory,” Ms Gates said.

“Sometimes you see higher rates in the city because people have moved there after they’re been diagnosed to be closer to better care and facilities, but that’s after they’ve been diagnosed.”

Across bowel, breast, cervical and prostate cancer the number of people aged 50 years and older getting tested increased from 2011/12.

“I guess the interesting thing for us is around the level at which people are being tested for certain cancers compared to the national recommendations,” she said.

Cancer is a bit more non-discriminatory.

Louise Gates.

The latest data shows about half (52 per cent) of Australians over 50-years-old have been screen for bowel cancer at some stage. Of those, 30 per cent had been tested within the past two years.

The Cancer Council recommends all people have the screening from age 50. Nationally, it’s the second most common form of cancer in both men and women.

When it came to breast cancer, more than three-quarters of women (77 per cent) over 50 years-old have been tested. Meanwhile 71 per cent have been tested for cervical cancer.

The rate for men being tested for prostate cancer was lower. Prior to 2014/15 58 per cent of men aged over 50 had been tested.