New numbers from AIHW released for Colorectal and Digestive-tract cancers

A first-of-its-kind report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) provides a new understanding of all digestive-tract cancers and their impact in Australia. The report, Colorectal and other digestive-tract cancers, presents comprehensive data on cancers including colorectal (bowel), pancreatic, stomach, liver and oesophageal.

The report shows that digestive-tract cancers are a major cause of illness and death in Australia, accounting for about 2 in 10 (21%) of all cancers diagnosed and nearly 3 in 10 (28%) cancer deaths. Males are 1.5 times as likely to be diagnosed with a digestive-tract cancer and 1.6 times as likely to die from digestive-tract cancers as females.

‘Bowel cancer is the most commonly diagnosed digestive-tract cancer in Australia, estimated to make up almost 6 in 10 (59%) digestive-tract cancers diagnosed in 2018. It is also the digestive-tract cancer with the highest survival rate, with those diagnosed having a 69% chance of surviving 5 years after their diagnosis,’ said AIHW spokesperson Justin Harvey.

This is much higher than the survival rate for other digestive-tract cancers. For example, pancreatic cancer—which is the second most commonly diagnosed type—has the lowest 5-year survival rate of all specified digestive-tract cancers, at about 9%, Oesophageal cancer at 21%, Stomach cancer at 29% and Liver cancer at only 18.1%.

Russell Conley, CEO, GI Cancer Institute, was encouraged to note that since 2011, the five year survival rate for GI cancer has increased from 49% to 51%.  However, he also commented that ‘With these new numbers showing that the death rate from digestive-tract cancers has increased from 33 people to 38 per day, there is still much work to be done in relation to prevention, improving diagnosis and treatment for people with GI cancer.”

For the full report click here