The increase in cancer prevalence and hospital burden in Western Australia, 1992-2011
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Purpose - To describe cancer prevalence and hospital service utilization by prevalent cancer patients in Western Australia from 1992 to 2011. Methods - This study was a population-based cohort study using the Western Australia (WA) Cancer Registry (1982 to 2011) as the source of incident cancer cases. These data were linked to mortality (1982 to 2011) and hospital morbidity (1998 to 2011) records via the WA Data Linkage System to ascertain complete and limited-duration prevalence and cancer-related hospitalizations over time. Prevalence rates were calculated using estimated residential population data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Results - In 2011, one in every 27 people living in WA had been diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lifetime, and one in 68 had been diagnosed within the previous five years. Between 1992 and 2011, complete cancer prevalence in Western Australia increased by a magnitude of 2.5-fold. Forty-five and 44% of the increase in complete cancer prevalence in males and females between 1992 and 2011 can be attributed to prostate and breast cancer, respectively. The absolute number of cancer-related bed days increased 81 and 74% in males and females, respectively, diagnosed within one year, between 1998 and 2011. Conclusions - The prevalence of cancer and the burden it places on hospitals continues to rise, demanding ongoing efforts to prevent cancer through modifiable risk factors and better, more efficient use of health resources. Steps should to be taken to understand and address overdiagnosis and overtreatment
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