Brain cancer in Australia statistics

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

Brain cancer incorporates ICD-10 cancer code C71 (Malignant neoplasm of brain)


Estimated number of new cases of brain cancer diagnosed in 2023

1,924 = male icon1,183 males + female icon741 females


Estimated % of all new cancer cases diagnosed in 2023

1.2%


Estimated number of deaths from brain cancer in 2023

1,579  = male icon 969 males + female icon610 females


Estimated % of all deaths from cancer in 2023

3.1%


Chance of surviving at least 5 years (2015–2019)

23%


People living with brain cancer at the end of 2018 (diagnosed in the 5 year period 2014 to 2018)

3,459


New cases 

In 2019, there were 1,828 new cases of brain cancer diagnosed in Australia (1,078 males and 750 females). In 2023, it is estimated that 1,924 new cases of brain cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (1,183 males and 741 females). In 2023, it is estimated that a person has a 1 in 162 (or 0.62%) risk of being diagnosed with brain cancer by the age of 85 (1 in 133 or 0.75% for males and 1 in 208 or 0.48% for females).

Figure 1. Estimated cancer incidence in Australia, 2023

Figure 1. Estimated cancer incidence in Australia, 2023

Notes

In 2019, the age-standardised incidence rate was 7.5 cases per 100,000 persons (9.2 for males and 6.0 for females). In 2023, it is estimated that the age-standardised incidence rate will be 7.3 cases per 100,000 persons (9.4 for males and 5.4 for females). The incidence rate for brain cancer is expected to increase with age, highest for those aged 80–84 years.

Figure 2. Age-standardised incidence rates for brain cancer cancer, 1982 to 2019, by sex

Figure 2. Age-standardised incidence rates for brain cancer cancer, 1982 to 2019, by sex

Notes

  • Data sourced from AIHW Cancer Data in Australia 2023 web report and supplementary data tables 
  • Age standardised rates are standardised to the 2023 Australian Standard Population
  • More information about incidence rates for brain cancer 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 brain cancer diagnosed increased from 853 (490 males and 363 females) in 1982 to 1,828 in 2019. Over the same period, the age-standardised incidence rate increased from 7.1 cases per 100,000 persons (8.4 for males and 5.8 for females) in 1982 to 7.3 cases per 100,000 in 2019.

Deaths

In 2021, brain cancer was the ninth most common cause of cancer death in Australia. It is estimated that it will remain the ninth most common cause of death from cancer in 2023.

In 2021, there were 1,552 deaths from brain cancer in Australia (945 males and 607 females). In 2023, it is estimated that there will be 1,579 deaths (969 males and 610 females). In 2023, it is estimated that a person has a 1 in 193 (or 0.52%) risk of dying from brain cancer by the age of 85 (1 in 157 or 0.64% for males and 1 in 251 or 0.40% for females).

Figure 3. Estimated cancer mortality in Australia, 2023

Figure 3. Estimated cancer mortality in Australia, 2023

Notes

In 2021, the age-standardised mortality rate was 6.2 deaths per 100,000 persons (7.8 for males and 4.6 for females). In 2023, it is estimated that the age-standardised mortality rate will be 6.0 deaths per 100,000 persons (7.7 for males and 4.4 for females). The mortality rate for brain cancer is expected to increase with age.

Figure 4. Age-standardised mortality rates for brain cancer cancer, 1982 to 2021, by sex

Figure 4. Age-standardised mortality rates for brain cancer cancer, 1982 to 2021, by sex

Notes

  • Data sourced from AIHW Cancer Data in Australia 2023 web report and supplementary data tables

The number of deaths from brain cancer increased from 663 (376 males and 287 females) in 1982 to 1,552 persons in 2021. Over the same period, the age-standardised mortality rate remained similar from 5.9 deaths per 100,000 persons (7.0 for males and 4.9 for females) in 1982 to 6.0 deaths per 100,000 in 2021. 

Survival

In 2015–2019, individuals diagnosed with brain cancer had a 23% chance (22% for males and 25% for females) of surviving for five years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population. Between 1990–1994 and 2015–2019, five-year relative survival for brain cancer improved from 19% to 23%. 

Figure 5. 5-year relative survival for brain cancer, 1990–1994 to 2015–2019, by se

Figure 5. 5-year relative survival for brain cancer, 1990–1994 to 2015–2019, by sex

Notes

Prevalence

At the end of 2018, there were 1,295 people living who had been diagnosed with brain cancer that year, 3,459 people living who had been diagnosed with brain cancer in the previous 5 years (from 2014 to 2018) and 8,373 people living who had been diagnosed with brain cancer in the previous 37 years (from 1982 to 2018).

For more information, see Brain cancer on 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.