Cancer is one of the 9 National Health Priority Areas (NHPA), areas which account for a significant portion of the burden of disease, but have sizeable potential for improvement. In Australia, CRC is the second most common cancer, after prostate (in men) and breast cancer (in women) (AIHW, Cancer incidence projections). The incidence has gradually increased (by 13% in males from 1982-2007) (AIHW, Cancer in Australia an overview). This is compounded by the ageing population and population growth, with 14,860 new cases in 2010 (http://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/bowel-cancer). This graph demonstrates this upward trend ((AIHW, Cancer incidence projections):
(AIHW, Cancer incidence projections)
Note that the introduction of screening may produce short-term rises (AIHW, Cancer incidence projections) due to greater detection.
Thus, the high incidence rate is of great public health importance, as it puts increasing strain on the health system and wider sectors, and generates considerable morbidity.
Additionally, CRC has a substantial impact in terms of mortality even though death rates are decreasing with better treatment and screening. 3999 deaths were directly attributable to CRC in 2011, and only lung cancer has higher mortality for cancers (http://www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/types-of-cancer/bowel-cancer).
Disease burden is measured in Disability-adjusted Life Years (DALYs), the number of years lost due to premature death or disability. Thus, this consists of Years of Life Lost (YLLs) and Years of Healthy Life Lost (YLDs) (AIHW, Cancer in Australia an overview). YLD for cancers can include adverse effects of treatment including chemotherapy, and further psychosocial effects. CRC has both a high YLL and high ...
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...s and carers) will share in the cost of pain and suffering, treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses, lost income and funeral costs. Employers may be confronted with absenteeism, productivity loss, idle assets or potential rehiring and retraining of replacements (Cancer Council, Cost of Cancer in NSW). This has flow-on effects to end consumers who must pay more for goods and services to cover this cost. Similarly, the government loses taxation revenue from lost income, and must provide services such as welfare, respite/palliative care and education (Cancer Council, Cost of Cancer in NSW). Finally, the rest of society such as non-government organisations and charities pick up the cost of community programs and education(Cancer Council, Cost of Cancer in NSW). This indicates that CRC ultimately has a pervasive scope, affecting all strata of society and its members.