Common cancers in NSW are predicted to change in the next 20 years to reflect cancers affecting our migrant population, according to a new report by The Cancer Council NSW.
While prostate cancer, breast cancer and bowel cancer currently have the highest incidence; liver cancer and stomach cancer are expected to rise, as these cancers are more common in the state’s growing migrant groups, including Chinese, Italians and Vietnamese.
?Liver cancer is caused mainly by the Hepatitis B and C viruses and sadly approximately a third of the 15,000 carriers of Hepatitis B in our migrant population are likely to die from end-stage disease including liver cancer,? CEO of The Cancer Council NSW, Dr Andrew Penman, said.
Closely monitoring people with Hepatitis B infections and vaccinating non-infected children of parents or siblings are encouraged to curb the rise of liver cancer.
?The majority of cases of stomach cancer are caused by Helicobacter pylori infection, which is more prevalent amongst people from Asian and some European countries, however the infection is treatable with triple therapy. You can also reduce your risk of stomach cancer by avoiding diets high in salty, smoked or preserved foods, and increasing your intake of foods rich in Vitamin C.?
The Cancer Council’s Cancer in NSW Migrants 1991-2001 report compared cancer incidence in migrant groups over a ten-year period to those born in Australia, investigating 297,457 cases of cancer, 24.5% of which occurred in migrants.
The researchers found that compared with people born in Australia, a number of migrant groups had higher risks for preventable cancers such as cancers of the cervix, liver, stomach and the oral cavity. While the incidence of lung cancer is currently lower in migrants from Asia and Africa than those born in Australia, this trend is likely to reverse to reflect the impact of current smoking rates.
?Prevention campaigns need to target high-risk groups as some of these cancers, such as cervical and liver cancer, could be prevented by vaccination and screening. It is also important doctors are aware of the higher cancer risk in some patients so they can be vigilant with early detection.?
The Cancer Council NSW will be further investigating the reasons behind the variations in cancer risk between migrants and Australian-born people in its Cancer, Lifestyle and Evaluation of Risk (CLEAR) study.
?Our diverse population allows us to learn a great deal about why cancer is triggered in some people and not others by comparing different lifestyles and genetic factors. Cancer patients and their partners can help us find the answers by calling 1800 500 894 to join the CLEAR study.?