Skip to main content

Cancer in Australia statistics

A A

All cancers in Australia

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

Cancer is a diverse group of several hundred diseases in which some of the body’s cells become abnormal and begin to multiply out of control. The abnormal cells can invade and damage the tissue around them, and spread to other parts of the body, causing further damage and eventually death.

All cancers combined incorporates ICD-10 cancer codes C00–C97 (Malignant neoplasms of specific sites), 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 2020

145,483 = male icon 76,729 males + female icon 68,754 females


Estimated number of deaths from cancer in 2020

48,099 = male icon 26,938 males + female icon 21,161 females


Chance of surviving at least 5 years (2012–2016)

69%

 


People living with cancer at the end of 2015 (diagnosed in the 5 year period 2011 to 2015)

443,778

 


New cases

In 2016, there were 135,133 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Australia (74,003 males and 61,130 females). In 2020, it is estimated that 145,483 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (76,729 males and 68,754 females). The estimated 10 most common cancers diagnosed in 2020 are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Estimated most common cancers diagnosed, 2020

Notes 

In 2016, the age-standardised incidence rate was 490 cases per 100,000 persons (560 for males and 431 for females). In 2020, it is estimated that the age-standardised incidence rate will reduce to 480 cases per 100,000 persons (525 for males and 443 for females). The incidence rate for all cancers combined is expected to generally increase with age.

Figure 2. Age-standardised incidence rates for all cancers combined, 1982 to 2016, by sex

Notes 

  • Data sourced from AIHW Cancer Data in Australia 2020 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 all cancers combined diagnosed increased from 47,468 (25,427 males and 22,041 females) in 1982 to 135,133 in 2016. 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 490 cases per 100,000 in 2016.

Deaths 

In 2018, there were 47,310 deaths from all cancers combined in Australia (26,699 males and 20,611 females). In 2020, it is estimated that there will be 48,099 deaths (26,938 males and 21,161 females). The estimated 10 most common causes of cancer death in 2020 are shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Estimated most common causes of cancer death, 2020

Notes 

In 2018, the age-standardised mortality rate was 155 deaths per 100,000 persons (192 for males and 126 for females). In 2020, it is estimated that the age-standardised mortality rate will be 150 deaths per 100,000 persons (183 for males and 123 for females). The mortality rate for all cancers combined is expected to generally increase with age.

Figure 4. Age-standardised mortality rates for all cancers combined, 1982 to 2018, by sex

Notes 

  • Data sourced from AIHW Cancer Data in Australia 2020 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 deaths from all cancers combined increased from 24,915 (14,199 males and 10,716 females) in 1982 to 47,310 in 2018. 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 155 deaths per 100,000 in 2018.

Survival 

In 2012–2016, individuals diagnosed with cancer had a 69% chance (68% for males and 71% for females) of surviving for five years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population. Between 1987–1991 and 2012–2016, five-year relative survival for cancer improved from 51% to 69%.

Figure 5. 5-year relative survival for all cancers combined, 1987–1991 to 2012–2016, by sex

Notes 

Prevalence 

At the end of 2015, there were 113,769 people living who had been diagnosed with cancer that year, 443,778 people living who had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous 5 years (from 2011 to 2015) and 1,128,106 people living who had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous 34 years (from 1982 to 2015).

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.

 

References

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2020, Cancer data in Australia. Cat. no. CAN 122. Canberra: AIHW.  [Accessed 5 June 2020].