Health conditions

Your say on cancer


The Western Australian Chief Health Officer’s (CHO) Report is a series of occasional reports released by the Department of Health that examine health-related issues in Western Australia (WA). 

The aim of this latest report is to reflect on how well WA is doing in cancer control, with a specific focus on cancer prevention.

Almost 12,000 Western Australians are diagnosed with cancer and around 4,000 lose their lives to the disease every year. Recent studies have estimated that 30-40% of these cancers could be prevented in Australia, which if achieved, would save much of the pain, anguish and cost associated with treating cancer.

This report focuses on 7 cancers which have the biggest impact on the WA community that also offer opportunities for prevention. These are:

link to cancer facts

  • Bowel cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Oesophageal and stomach cancer and
  • Prostate cancer.


People were invited to have their say on cancer prevention through an online survey which presented data and expert videos on the risks and impact of cancer in the WA community. Participants were then asked what they thought were the most important priorities for cancer prevention in WA.
Survey method


A total of 440 respondents participated in the online consultation.

Over three quarters of respondents were female and 85% lived in the Perth metropolitan area.

More than half of the respondents were aged 40-64 years, with 40% aged less than 40 years, and 6% aged 65 years or older.

Key findings

  • Link to full reportRespondents were generally positive about the importance of cancer prevention and the role government can play in cancer prevention / early detection.
  • Respondents were generally positive about taking personal responsibility for their own health and being able to act on health information.
  • Almost one-third of respondents expected the number of preventable cancer cases to be lower
  • A substantial proportion of respondents were surprised by the preventability of cancer.
  • Bowel cancer appears to be a clear target for improving public awareness generally and increasing screening participation in WA.
  • Breast cancer appears to be a target for improving public awareness around alcohol consumption and increasing screening participation in WA.
  • Strong community support remains for action on tobacco control.
  • Overall awareness was lowest for oesophageal and stomach cancer; including who is at risk, what the symptoms are, and how to prevent these cancers.
  • Actions suggested by participants in regards to cancer prevention were consistent with a collaborative, coordinated and multifaceted approach.

Download the survey questions (PDF 1.5MB) and the full report (PDF 1.5MB).

Cancer specific findings

See key findings by cancer type.


Major contributors to this project include:

Curtin University logo   Cancer Council WA logo Health Consumers Council logo 
 WA Clinical Oncology Group logo  Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA logo  

More information

If you would like further information about the survey, data and outcomes email the Epidemiology team.

Public Health – Epidemiology Branch 

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.