Here at CanDo, we’re focused on helping people going through treatment. We even try to avoid using the word “patient” because being a “cancer patient” is only one aspect of a person’s life, and it’s the stuff that happens outside of a medicalised environment, that we are best placed to support.
But sometimes it feels like we’re in it alone. We can spend a lot of time pondering “Why me?” but there’s generally few answers. It can sometimes be helpful to understand your illness from a more rational perspective and remove some of the angst from asking that question. This is where the new NCCI (National Cancer Control Indicators) website from Cancer Australia can help.
Have you ever wondered just how many people in Australia have cancer? And what types do they get and how do they treat it? Are we doing better or worse than other countries in tackling prevention of cancers and treatment of cancers?
Cancer Australia is the government body tasked with advising the Australian Government on how to tackle cancer, and what needs to be done to provide better outcomes for people with cancer. Today they’ve launched a website that contains all the data you ever wanted to know about cancer, and probably some you didn’t! But we tend to agree that information, is power and being able to see patterns in data helps direct where resources and funding need to be deployed. It can also help to debunk some dangerous myths about who gets cancer and the causes.
For example, the data shows that far from breast cancer being no longer a big deal (as someone told me when I was diagnosed!), incidence of diagnosis has increased somewhat over time (from 98/100,000 in 1992 to 122/100,000 in 2012), and in particular, in women over 50 years old. But before everyone FREAKS OUT, we need to understand the rationale behind those results. In fact, one of the key reasons for the increased incidence, are improvements in screening, and the Breastscreen public screening program picking up women of that age who may not otherwise have known they had breast cancer.
We can also see how we in Australia, rate against other countries for incidence of particular types of cancer. Clearly, Australia and New Zealand have a big problem with melanoma (and men are disproportionately affected).
As a data nerd I could trawl through this all day. There’s also a lot of articles and studies related to prevention of cancers, factors that increase your risk, and data around treatment, some of which is very surprising.
Did you know that nearly 250,000 Australians accessed “systemic anti-cancer treatment” e.g. chemotherapy, in 2016? That’s a lot of people actively living with cancer or the effects of having had the disease and a lot of people in the “the club no one wants to join”.
If the numbers interest you, and you want to find out more for yourself or the person you’re caring for, the link is here.
For me, seeing these numbers and having an even better understanding of how we, as a society, are living and managing cancer, I’m even more enthusiastic about how CanDo can help make things just a little bit easier for people in that situation.
Please, spread the word, and see what you CanDo.