Cancer report card shows improvement in western Sydney

Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre director Prof Paul Harnett with Westmead Institute for Medical Research translational cancer researcher Prof Anna DeFazio.

The state’s latest cancer report card, released yesterday, shows Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) continues to make important improvements in cancer outcomes.

The Cancer control in NSW: Statewide report 2018 by the Cancer Institute NSW shows improvement in people accessing screening services for breast cancer and bowel cancer, particularly among culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

Professor Paul Harnett, director of the Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre at Westmead Hospital, said lessening the impact of cancer on people in NSW remains a top priority and is being achieved in vital ways.

“In 2019, more than 4500 people in Western Sydney LHD will be told they have cancer and there will be more than 1300 cancer deaths. However, survival has continued to improve for most cancers, as has the number of people taking part in life-saving cancer screening,” Prof Harnett said.

“The proportion of women aged 50-74 who are participating in biennial breast screening has risen to 47.8 per cent.”

WSLHD has also made significant ground in smoking prevalence among adults, falling from 21.8 per cent in 2012 to 12.4 per cent in 2017.

The district will continue to focus on other cancer prevention measures, including diet and exercise. Only 2.4 per cent of adults reported adequate vegetable consumption in 2017 – down from 8.2 per cent in 2012, and below the NSW average of 6.6 per cent.

The Cancer control in NSW: Statewide report 2018 is one product of the Cancer Institute NSW’s Reporting for Better Cancer Outcomes program, which analyses and reports on key cancer control indicators.

Chief Cancer Officer and CEO of the Cancer Institute NSW, Professor David Currow, said every LHD across the state was working towards reducing the impact of cancer.

“There is still much work to do in reducing unwarranted variation in cancer care and outcomes. The Cancer Institute NSW will be working with local health services to build on these findings and improve the cancer care, support and information we provide,” Professor Currow said.

“Improving cancer outcomes is a critical undertaking that we’re pursuing in partnership with clinicians, researchers and policy makers. This is a team effort across the entire health sector, both government and non-government, to ensure people with cancer receive the best care no matter where they live and where they are treated.”

Western Sydney Local Health District continues to invest in cancer treatment, services and research, including a major investment into the region with the opening of the Blacktown Haematology and Cancer Centre in 2016.