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Cancer is a disease that directly or indirectly affects the vast majority of Australians and is the second-most common cause of death after cardiovascular disease. The risk of an Australian being diagnosed with cancer by their 85th birthday is estimated to be 1 in 2 for males and 1 in 3 for females.

An estimated 14.1 million new cases occurred worldwide and 8.2 million people died from cancer in 2012. The prevalence, high severity of disease and level of unmet clinical need underscored the World Cancer Declaration by the World Health Organisation in 2013 that calls for cancer societies around the world to collectively work towards reducing the burden of all cancers by 25% within the next 10 years.