Almost 156,000 Victorians are living with a diagnosis of cancer made in the past decade according to figures released for the first time today.
The release of the data by the Victorian Cancer Registry comes in the lead up to Daffodil Day, when the community joins together to raise much-needed funds for cancer research, patient support and prevention programs.
The figures reveal that as of 1 January, 2012 there were 155,911 Victorians (or 2.8% of the population) living with a diagnosis of cancer in the previous 10 years. Slightly more than half, or 54%, were men.
Prostate and breast cancer have the highest prevalence because they are among the most common to be diagnosed and also have high rates of survival. Together, these two diseases account for 40% of the overall prevalence for Victoria with 35,000 cases of prostate and 27,000 cases of breast cancer.
This is the first detailed picture of Victoria's cancer prevalence, which is defined as the number of people who are alive on a specified date and have previously been diagnosed with cancer.
Both cancer incidence and survival have been increasing in Victoria, resulting in more people living with cancer.
Cancer Council Victoria CEO Todd Harper said one in every two people will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
"Every day, another 78 Victorians are diagnosed with cancer. There are also people living in every community in the state who have survived cancer, and all of those people have ongoing needs when it comes to treatment and support.
"That is why funds raised for patient support through campaigns like Daffodil Day are so critical. As the number of cancer survivors increases we know that more people will need different types of support after treatment, and to meet those needs the Cancer Council will need the ongoing support of all Victorians."
The Cancer Council has created a map of Victoria to demonstrate how cancer affects every Local Government Area, and provided an example of some of the support services that are being provided in those communities.