As we step into the new year, health advocates are encouraging fellow Australians, especially those in high-risk age groups, to embark on a journey of well-being in 2024 and ensure you enjoy your retirement years to their fullest.
Recent insights from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) highlight the importance of a proactive health approach, finding that most Australians only go to the GP when something is wrong, with some aged between 45 and 64, neglecting to visit their GP last year entirely.
According to data from the RACGP Health of the Nation survey in 2023, 24 per cent of GP visits were made up of chronic illness, 18 per cent for diet and lifestyle, and just 1 per cent for cancers.
The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) says while those statistics are concerning they are not surprising.
“Australia has the highest rates of cancer in the world and yet there are preventative measures to limit that risk. Early detection is key to survival when it comes to cancer,” says PCFA Chief Executive Anne Savage.
“With prostate cancer, a simple blood test could save your life”.
Australia’s prevalent cancers, excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, encompass prostate, breast, colorectal (bowel), melanoma, and lung cancer. Together, these five cancers constitute approximately 60 per cent of all diagnosed cases nationwide.
As we kick off the start of the year, the PCFA is advocating for all Australians to schedule a proactive cancer check-up with their GP. Not only can such check ups provide some peace of mind but early-stage detection significantly enhances survival rates across the spectrum of major cancers.
Join Starts at 60 as we dive into comprehensive insights on some of the most common cancers, empowering yourself with knowledge for a proactive and informed approach to your well-being.
Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia and the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Australian men.
70 Australian men are diagnosed each day with prostate cancer, and about 10 men will die each day.
Men living in regional or rural areas of Australia have approximately 24 percent higher rate of dying from prostate cancer than their urban counterparts.
Men over 40 are being urged to talk to their GP in January about getting a PSA blood test, which measures prostate specific antigen and can be an indicator of prostate cancer.
Early detection is the key to survival, with only about 36 percent of prostate cancers in Australia detected at Stage 1.
To find out more about your risks and screening options, call PCFA’s Specialist Telenursing Service on 1800 22 00 99 or go to www.pcfa.org.au
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Australia and the second most common cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.
Women are being reminded not to forget their yearly breast check by making a booking for a mammogram or ultrasound. A screening mammogram is recommended for all women aged 50 to 74.
Melanoma is more common in Australia than anywhere else in the world, with higher rates of the potentially deadly skin cancer among older Australians due to the impacts of lifetime sun exposure without adequate protection.
Any amount of sun damage can increase your risk of skin cancers, including melanoma. Authorities are reminding Australians to protect themselves from the sun this summer and get a skin check.
Bowel cancer is the second most common cancer among Australian men and women, with symptoms that often go overlooked, such as a change in bowel habits or abdominal pain or bloating.
A fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is a simple test that can be done at home and looks for hidden traces of blood in a bowel motion. The National Bowel Screening Program is free to all Australians aged 50-74 every two years, with test kits sent directly to your home.
Lung Cancer is Australia’s number one cancer killer and the fifth most common cancer in Australia today, accounting for nine percent of all cancers.
If you’re a smoker, today is a great time to quit. Anyone with a history of smoking or a family history of lung cancer should see their GP about their risks and screening options, and get a regular health check-up.
Your well-being matters, and by staying on top of these essential check-ups you can make this year the healthiest and happiest yet!
Remember, by prioritising your health today, you’re investing in the joy and vitality that will accompany your later years.
Savage stresses that “regular health check-ups are key to optimal health and wellbeing, allowing all of us to talk to an expert about any niggles and maintain physical and psychological wellness”.
IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.