A new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) predicts 20,000 people will be diagnosed with bowel cancer in the year 2020.
The extra cases, up from 14,234 diagnosed in 2007, will be mostly due to an ageing population, the AIHW report said.
The predicted number of future cases is calculated by extrapolating from past cancer trends and does not take into account the impact of interventions such as the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program. However the limitations of the current program, offered only to three age groups and with low participation rates, would not greatly affect the predictions, the report said.
Importantly, bowel cancer will continue to be the second most common cause of cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers) for both men and women.
The report Cancer Incidence Projections 2011-2020 predicts 150,000 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in 2020 – an increased of about 40 per cent from 2007 statistics.
The report is designed to help governments plan for future health care needs and allocate resources appropriately.
Its findings reinforce the urgent need for full implementation of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program and a comprehensive public awareness campaign about bowel cancer, its impact in the community, prevention and early detection.