Cancer facts and figures

Some key facts and figures about cancer.

Page last updated: 26 August 2015

Statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show that in Australia:

  • Cancer is Australia's leading cause of burden of disease. In 2013, there were over 44,000 deaths from cancer.1 In 2011 there were over 118,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Australia2.
  • Based on 2011 data, the risk for a male being diagnosed with cancer before age 75 was 1 in 3, and before age 85 was 1 in 2. The risk for a female being diagnosed with cancer before age 75 was 1 in 4, and before age 85 was 1 in 32.
  • The most common cancer affecting males is prostate cancer, with 19,993 diagnoses in 2011. For females, the most common cancer is breast cancer, with 14,465 diagnoses in 2011.
  • In 2013, the leading causes of cancer deaths overall were lung cancer, bowel cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer1
  • Australian survival rates for cancer are high by world standards. All cancer survival has increased significantly between diagnoses made in 1982-1986 and those made in 2007-2011. For males, five year relative survival increased from 40% to 66% and, for females, it increased from 52% to 68%2. For all people diagnosed with cancer, the 5-year relative survival (other than non-melanoma skin cancer) increased from 46% in 1982-1986 to 67% in 2007-20112.
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1ABS, Causes of death, Australia, 2013 (cancer defined as C00-C97, D45-D47), 2013
2Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2014. Cancer in Australia: an overview 2014. Cancer series No 90. Cat. no. CAN 88. Canberra: AIHW

Page last reviewed: March 2016