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Leukaemia Foundation calls for action on blood cancer as national report confirms incidence and mortality continues to rise

Friday, July 1 2022

  • Over 53 Australians to be diagnosed with blood cancer every day in 2022, new report confirms[i]
  • 1 in 3 Australians diagnosed with a blood cancer will not survive 5 years after diagnosis
  • Early detection, better awareness, and movement to implement action from the National Strategic Action Plan[ii] for Blood Cancer are critical to achieve goal of zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) Cancer Data in Australia 2022 report, released today, confirms more than 53 Australians will be diagnosed with a blood cancer every day this year, an increase from 50 people daily in 2021.

The report also demonstrates that when combined, blood cancers are one of Australia’s deadliest cancers with 1 in 3 people diagnosed with a blood cancer not surviving 5 years after their diagnosis.

Leukaemia Foundation CEO Chris Tanti said the rising incidence and mortality of blood cancers highlights the urgent need to deliver on the recommendations from the National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer. The plan maps a clear path to improve outcomes for people living with blood cancer and their families by catalysing health system reform, accelerating research, enabling access to novel and specialised therapies and empowering patients.

“While overall cancer incidence rates in Australia have been levelling out, unfortunately blood cancer incidence rates have risen by nearly 50 per cent over the past 10 years,” Mr Tanti said.

“The National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer provides a blueprint to not only save lives, but to transform the face of treatment and care for every Australian facing a blood cancer diagnosis. If we are to achieve the blood cancer community’s shared vision of zero lives lost to blood cancer by 2035, we need urgent and real action on this plan today.”

Mr Tanti said today’s report from AIHW demonstrates that while national screening programs and early detection campaigns have been key to driving down mortality rates for some cancers, greater awareness of blood cancers is needed to ensure early detection.

“Unlike other cancers, blood cancer can develop in anyone at any stage of life – there are no screening programs to detect it and no way to prevent it through lifestyle change. In many cases blood cancer symptoms can be dismissed or mistaken for infections like the flu or COVID-19 leading to delayed diagnosis.”

“With no way to screen for blood cancer, raising awareness among Australians of blood cancer signs and symptoms is crucial to early diagnosis. We know that the sooner a diagnosis occurs, the greater chance of survival. Ongoing symptoms like recurrent infections, increased fatigue, night sweats, bone pain, unexplained weight loss, bruising and enlarged lymph nodes should be discussed immediately with your GP.”

Mr Tanti said the report further demonstrates more needs to be done to ensure Australians living with blood cancer have access to the best treatment and care, regardless of where they live.

“The Leukaemia Foundation is proud to stand beside all Australians living with blood cancer, to be their voice and fight to ensure they have access to the best therapies and care to treat their specific disease. Now more than ever, we must continue to set national standards for blood cancer treatment and care in Australia.”

For the past 47 years, the Leukaemia Foundation has supported and advocated for people living with blood cancer in Australia. Today the Leukaemia Foundation provides a full suite of support services to patients and their families, including accommodation while undergoing treatment, transport to medical appointments, emotional support, education and information around blood cancer, and other practical and financial support services.

“We place the needs of people living with blood cancer at the centre of everything we do. Drawing on more than four decades of experience and knowledge, we have built a patient-centric model that is transforming how Australians living with blood cancer are supported, while providing them with timely information on their disease, treatment and how to live well with their blood cancer,” said Mr Tanti.

The Leukaemia Foundation supports all Australians living with blood cancer. For more information, please visit the Leukaemia Foundation website at Alternatively, if you or a loved one are impacted by blood cancer and need support, contact 1800 620 420.

Access the full Cancer Data in Australia 2022 report from AIHW here:

Access the National Strategic Action Plan for Blood Cancer report here:

Access the ‘State of blood cancer in Australia 2022’ report card here: 

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Last updated on July 29th, 2022

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.