Associate professor Dr Tom Shakespeare and Dr Sultan Linjawi were keynote speakers at the North Coast Cancer Conference.
Associate professor Dr Tom Shakespeare and Dr Sultan Linjawi were keynote speakers at the North Coast Cancer Conference. Leigh Jensen

Cancer conference hears of rise

CANCER remains an overwhelming health problem plaguing North Coast hospitals, with health statistics indicating diagnosis rates continue to rise.

Health professionals believe, however, significant ground is being made by breakthroughs in treatment and advances in diagnosis, reflected by significant falls in cancer fatalities.

Doctors, specialists, oncology staff and researchers countering the disease on the North Coast continue to be briefed on the best practices existing in Australia.

The annual North Coast Cancer Conference held in Coffs Harbour at the weekend attracted 150 delegates, including some of the country’s leading cancer experts.

“A wide range of topics were covered including new techniques in the treatment of prostate and anal cancer, palliative care and sexuality after cancer diagnosis and treatment,” said conference chairman associate professor Dr Tom Shakespeare.

“Given cancer rates have increased in the region, it’s important these types of educational conferences have been established.

“One example of this was that Australia’s foremost authority on radiotherapy after surgery for prostate cancer, Professor Andrew Kneebone, of the Royal North Shore Hospital, spoke to the audience referring to the success in survival rates.”

North Coast Area Health statistics indicate that between 2003 and 2007 there were 16,239 new cases of cancer diagnosed, an average of 3248 per year.

Over the same period, there were 5887 cancer deaths in the region, averaging 1177 per year.



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