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Cancer in Australia statistics

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All cancers in Australia

The following material has been sourced from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

All cancers combined incorporates ICD-10 cancer codes C00–C96 (Malignant neoplasms of specific sites) with mortality also incorporating C97, D45 (Polycythaemia), D46 (Myelodysplastic syndromes), and D47.1, D47.3, D47.4 and D47.5 (Myeloproliferative diseases); but excludes basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the skin. BCC and SCC, the most common skin cancers, are not notifiable diseases in Australia and are not reported in the Australian Cancer Database. 


Estimated number of cancer cases diagnosed in 2021

150,782 = male icon 80,371 males + female icon 70,411 females


Estimated number of deaths from cancer in 2021

49,221 = male icon 27,600 males + female icon 21,621 females


Chance of surviving at least 5 years (2013–2017)

70%

 


People living with cancer at the end of 2016 (diagnosed in the 5 year period 2012 to 2016)

456,978

 


New cases

In 2017, there were 139,413 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Australia (76,798 males and 62,615 females). In 2021, it is estimated that 150,782 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (80,371 males and 70,411 females). It is estimated that around 2 in 5 people (or 43%) will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.

Figure 1. Estimated most common cancers diagnosed, 2021

Notes 

In 2017, the age-standardised incidence rate was 492 cases per 100,000 persons (565 for males and 430 for females). In 2021, it is estimated that the age-standardised incidence rate will reduce to 486 cases per 100,000 persons (537 for males and 444 for females). The incidence rate for all cancers combined is expected to increase with age, peaking at age group 85–89 years.

Figure 2. Age-standardised incidence rates for all cancers combined, 1982 to 2017, by sex

Notes 

  • Data sourced from AIHW Cancer Data in Australia 2021 web report and supplementary data tables
  • More information about incidence rates for all cancers combined over time, by age, sex, Indigenous status, remoteness, and socioeconomic status (SES) can be found on the NCCI website in the ‘Cancer incidence’ section (https://ncci.canceraustralia.gov.au/diagnosis/cancer-incidence/cancer-incidence

The number of new cases of cancer diagnosed increased from 47,466 (25,423 males and 22,043 females) in 1982 to 139,413 in 2017. Over the same period, the age-standardised incidence rate increased from 384 cases per 100,000 persons (473 for males and 328 for females) in 1982 to 492 cases per 100,000 persons in 2017.

Deaths 

In 2019, there were 49,035 deaths from cancer in Australia (27,699 males and 21,336 females). In 2021, it is estimated that there will be 49,221 deaths (27,600 males and 21,621 females). In 2021, it is estimated that a person has a 1 in 6 (or 16%) risk of dying from cancer by the age of 85 (1 in 6 or 18% for males and 1 in 7 or 13% for females). The estimated 10 most common causes of cancer death in 2021 are shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Estimated most common causes of cancer death, 2021

Notes 

In 2019, the age-standardised mortality rate was 156 deaths per 100,000 persons (193 for males and 126 for females). In 2021, it is estimated that the age-standardised mortality rate will be 149 deaths per 100,000 persons (182 for males and 122 for females). The mortality rate for all cancers combined is expected to increase with age.

Figure 4. Age-standardised mortality rates for all cancers combined, 1982 to 2019, by sex

Notes 

  • Data sourced from AIHW Cancer Data in Australia 2021 web report and supplementary data tables
  • More information about mortality rates for all cancers combined over time, by age, sex, Indigenous status, remoteness, and socioeconomic status (SES) can be found on the NCCI website in the ‘Cancer mortality’ section (https://ncci.canceraustralia.gov.au/outcomes/cancer-mortality/cancer-mortality

The number of cancer deaths increased from 24,915 (14,199 males and 10,716 females) in 1982 to 49,035 in 2019. Over the same period, the age-standardised mortality rate decreased from 209 deaths per 100,000 persons (279 for males and 161 for females) in 1982 to 156 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2019. 

Survival 

In 2013–2017, individuals diagnosed with cancer had a 70% chance (69% for males and 71% for females) of surviving for five years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population. Between 1988–1992 and 2013–2017, five-year relative survival for cancer improved from 51% to 70%.

Figure 5. 5-year relative survival for all cancers combined, 1988–1992 to 2013–2017, by sex

Notes 

Prevalence 

At the end of 2016, there were 117,529 people living who had been diagnosed with cancer that year, 456,978 people living who had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous 5 years (from 2012 to 2016) and 1,176,285 people living who had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous 35 years (from 1982 to 2016).

For more information on cancer data, see the NCCI website

The National Cancer Control Indicators (NCCI) are a set of indicators across the continuum of cancer care, from Prevention and Screening through to Diagnosis, Treatment, Psychosocial care, Research and Outcomes.  The NCCI website allows users to see visual representations of data on each indicator through interactive charts.