Australian Institute of Health and Welfare figures show there were 17,321 people diagnosed with a blood cancer such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma last year. Blood cancers were diagnosed more often than prostate cancer, melanoma or lung cancer.
Only breast cancer diagnoses were more common in Australia. In terms of cancer-related deaths, only lung cancer was more common.
The figures – confirming a 30 per cent increase in in blood cancer incidence rates over the past decade – have prompted the Leukemia Foundation to call for more public support through their fundraising drives such as the World’s Greatest Shave.
Foundation CEO Chris Tanti said the figures showed more people would seek out the organisation’s help in future years.
“These new findings confirm that we really are dealing with some of the nation’s most diagnosed and deadly cancer killers – and that there is simply no time to waste to cure and conquer blood cancer,” he said.
He said the foundation was bracing for a spike in blood cancer diagnoses as COVID-19 restrictions eased and more Australians seek health check-ups, potentially receiving the “gutting news” that they have blood cancer in the process.
“The reality is blood cancer doesn’t stop for a global pandemic and we know for every day since COVID-19 began, another 47 Australians would have developed blood cancer even if they don’t yet know it,” he said.
“That is why we are urging Australians not to postpone trips to their doctor and to address any health concerns immediately.”
“Ongoing symptoms such as recurrent infections, increased fatigue or bruising or enlarged lymph nodes should be urgently discussed with your GP.”
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