Thursday, September 7, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

State Cancer Death Rate Reaches 25-Year Low

Cancer Council volunteers in Cairns were joined by Minister for Health, Mental Health, and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman last week to celebrate Daffodil Day, the organisation’s iconic fundraising initiative to support those affected by cancer.

It comes as data from the Queensland Cancer Register (QCR) has revealed a significant decline in cancer mortality rates among Queenslanders.

The state-wide decline over the last five years can be attributed to various factors, including significant progress in cancer treatments (specifically in immunotherapy), the efforts of committed healthcare providers, investments in prevention initiatives, and enhanced diagnostics using genomic sequencing.

“We know five-year cancer survivorship rates among Queenslanders have increased from just over 50% in the 1980s to over 70% within the last five years,” said Cancer Council Queensland’s Chief Operating Officer Balveen Ajimal.

“We also know one third of all cancers can be prevented simply by modifying lifestyle factors.

“Each year, more than 32,000 Queenslanders are diagnosed with cancer.

“We are using data from our award-winning Cancer Atlas to understand the needs of cancer patients across Australia and develop the right support services for all Queenslanders affected by cancer, regardless of where they live.”

The Cancer Alliance Queensland (CAQ), which manages the QCR, has developed an interactive dashboard to allow public access to key incidence, mortality, and survival data for Queensland.

The Cancer Data Explorer shows that from 1994 to 2020, there was a 27% decrease in the cancer death rate, resulting in nearly 37,000 fewer deaths than anticipated.

“A decline in cancer related deaths offers hope and optimism to the thousands of individuals and families affected by the disease here in Queensland,” said Health Minister Shannon Fentiman.

“This is a credit to the commitment of clinicians who treat cancer, our advancements in research and medical technology, as well as our investments in prevention programs.  

“Despite this progress, we know that emerging activities like vaping and continued exposure to the sun pose a risk to increasing cancer rates.

“We will continue to support charities like Cancer Council Queensland to build awareness and provide support to those affected by cancer.

“We know that cancer diagnosed at an early stage is more likely to be treated successfully.

“Please seek support from a health care professional if you’re concerned.”

Queensland Cancer Control Safety and Quality Partnership Chair Euan Walpole said there have been significant advancements in cancer treatments in the past five years, particularly in the field of immunotherapy.

“Breast cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, but thanks to improved screening methods and treatment advances, mortality rates have decreased,” he said.

“In Queensland since 2013, mortality due to melanoma of the skin has decreased by 41% overall.

“These improvements are thanks to the introduction of immunotherapy trials.”

Visit to learn more about Daffodil Day and to donate.

Photo supplied: Shannon Fentiman MP

In other news