Cancer is the leading cause of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia. The following information provides a summary of the national statistics related to cancer in Australia using data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (Source: Cancer in Australia statistics. Cancer Australia, 2017) 29
In 2013, there were 124,465 new cases of cancer in Australia (68,936 new cases in men and 55,529 new cases in women).7, 29
In 2017, about 134,174 Australians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer (72,169 men and 62,005 women). An estimated 149,990 are expected to be diagnosed in 2020.8, 29
In 2017, the risk of developing cancer before the age of 85 years is 1 in 2 in both men and women. 29
Cancer is more common in older Australians:
in 2013, 74.6 per cent of new cancer cases were diagnosed in men aged 60 years and over; and 64 per cent in women aged 60 years and over. 29
Cancer is more common in men:
in 2013, the age-standardised incidence rate of cancer was 562 cases per 100,000 men, compared with 416 cases per 100,000 women. 29
Between 1982 and 2013, the number of new cancer cases in Australia more than doubled (from 47,388 to 124,465 cases). 29
While cancer incidence rates have increased (from 382.8 to 470 cases per 100,000 between 1982 and 2013), cancer mortality rates have fallen (from 209.0 to 162 deaths per 100,000 between 1982 and 2014). 29
In 2017, the five most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia are expected to be breast cancer (17,586), colorectal cancer (16,682), prostate cancer (16,665), and melanoma (13,941 cases). 7, 10
In 2013, prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer among men and breast cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women. 29
Variations between population groups
from 2008 to 2012, the age standardised incidence rate of all cancers combined was:
- higher for Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Australians than their non-Indigenous counterparts (484 and 439 per 100,000 respectively) (New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory).
- from 2008 to 2012, the age standardised incidence rate of all cancers combined was higher for people living in lower rather than higher socioeconomic status areas.9
- from 2008 to 2012, the age standardised rate of all cancers combined was highest in Inner regional areas (516 per 100,000) and lowest in vary remote areas (462 per 100,000).9
- In 2014, there were 44,171 deaths due to cancer.7
- The age-standardised mortality rate for cancer is higher for men:
- in 2014, there were 200.4 deaths per 100,000 men from cancer, compared with 131.6 deaths per 100,000 women. 7
- Between 1982 and 2014, the age-standardised mortality rate for cancer has decreased from 209.0 deaths per 100,000 in 1982 to 161.9 deaths per 100,000 in 2014. 7
- In 2017, the risk of dying from cancer before the age of 85 is estimated to be 1 in 4 for men and 1 in 6 for women. 7
- In 2012, the leading cause of cancer death was lung cancer (8,137), followed by bowel cancer (3,980), prostate cancer (3,079), breast cancer (2,819) and pancreatic cancer (2,524). 7, 10
- For 2009–2013, five-year relative survival for all cancers combined in Australia was 68 per cent.12
- Relative survival rates for cancer was slightly higher for women than for men:
- in 2009–2013, five-year relative survival for all cancers combined was 68.7 per cent for women and 67.5 per cent for men.12
- Relative survival rates for cancer have increased in recent years:
- between the periods 1982–1986 and 2009–2013, five-year relative survival increased from 48 per cent to 68 per cent.12
- At the end of 2012, there were 994,605 people in Australia who were diagnosed with cancer in the previous 31 years (4.3% of the Australian population), including 410,530 diagnosed in the previous 5 years.9
Access Cancer in Australia: an overview 2017 (PDF, 3.7MB)9
Summarise the reported disparities in incidence and mortality in one of the population groups identified.
- Identify factors which may be contributing to these differences. Consider environmental, lifestyle and health system factors.
Outline the implications of these inequalities for health policy and nursing practice.
Access the Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) books and compare current data for “All cancers” and a diagnostic group you care for.
- Number of total cases.
- Risk of diagnosis before age 75.
- Average annual rate of change in incidence.
- Mortality rates.
Cancer Incidence Projections 2011 to 2020:8
- 40% increase in number of cases from 2007 to 2020 due to ageing and increasing population
- Most common cancers in 2020:
- Males – prostate, bowel and melanoma, lung
- Females – breast, bowel, melanoma and lung.
Increased rates are expected for:
- Liver cancer - 38% in males, 78% in females
- Thyroid cancer – 33% in males, 62% in females
- Melanoma – 30% males
- Testicular cancer – 25%
- Lung cancer – 16% females.
Decreased rates are expected for:
- Stomach – 25% in males, 20% in females
- Bladder – 19% males
- Lung – 15% males
- Pancreatic – 14% males.
Identify factors which are likely to be contributing to the trends reported. Consider social, behavioural and environmental changes as well as developments in science and technology.