Cancer in Australia: Actual incidence and mortality data from 1982 to 2007 and projections to 2010


  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

Communications, Media and Marketing Unit, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, AIHW, GPO Box 570, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia. Email:


Background:  The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australasian Association of Cancer Registries collaborate every year to provide updated information on cancer occurrences and trends in Australia.

Method:  Actual number of cases and deaths is presented together with age-standardised rates for all cancers combined and selected cancer sites from 1982 to 2007, with projections to 2010. Differences in incidence and mortality rates according to age, Indigenous status and remoteness areas are also provided. In addition, change over time in 5-year relative survival estimates for those diagnosed with cancer is presented, as is information on the participation in Australia's national screening programs for breast, cervical and bowel cancer. The term ‘cancer’ is used to refer to primary tumours which are invasive.

Results:  In 2007, a total of 108,368 new cases of cancer (excluding basal and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin) and 39,884 deaths from cancer occurred in Australia. Prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in males, while breast cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in females. Lung cancer was by far the most common cause of cancer death in both males and females. In the last decade, cancer incidence rates increased in males and stabilised in females, while mortality rates decreased steadily. The overall incidence rate of cancer for Indigenous Australians was lower than that for non-indigenous Australians, while the overall mortality rate from cancer was higher. Furthermore, the 5-year relative survival for many cancers improved markedly from 1982–1986 to 1998–2004.