Cancer on the Rise Among Young Australians

Three 15 to 24 year-olds are diagnosed with cancer in Australia every day on average, with melanoma the most commonly diagnosed cancer among this age group, according to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Cancer rates have risen in the past three decades, with more than 4,800 new cancer cases diagnosed between 2010-2014.

While a cancer diagnosis in young people is still considered rare, the rise is concerning. It is likely attributed to an increased exposure to environmental carcinogens such as smoking.

In the data released last week, melanoma accounted for about 15 per cent of all new cancer diagnoses. But there is good news: despite melanoma being the most common cancer, the numbers have almost halved since 1985-1989. Between 2010-2014, the rate fell from 96 cases per million to 44 cases per million.

Overall, cancer was responsible for almost nine per cent of all deaths in young people, with brain cancer being the leading cause of deaths.

Cancer survival has improved, though. Almost 89 per cent of young people survived five years past their cancer diagnosis in 2010-2014, up from 80 per cent in 1985-1989.

The report warned that young Australians should not become complacent about sun protection and cancer screening.