Cancer Council Australia

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Facts and figures

Cancer in Australia

  • An estimated 145,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year, with that number set to rise to 150,000 by 2020.1, 2
  • 1 in 2 Australian men and women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.1
  • Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia - almost 50,000 deaths from cancer are estimated for 2019. 1
  • In 2014, cancer was the second most common cause of death in Australia and accounted for about 3 in 10 deaths.1,3
  • Around 25,000 more people die each year from cancer compared to 1982. This is due mainly to population growth and ageing. 1
  • However, the death rate (number of deaths per 100,000 people) has fallen by more than 24%.
  • In the 1980s, the cancer survival rate was less than 50%. Today, almost 7 in 10 Australians will survive for at least 5 years after a cancer diagnosis and in some cancers the survival is as high as 90%.1
  • The most common cancers in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) are prostate, breastcolorectal (bowel)melanoma and lung cancer. These five cancers account for around 60% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia.1
  • In 2008, it was estimated that every year around 434,000 people will be diagnosed with one or more non-melanoma skin cancer in Australia. 4
  • In 2016, 679 people died from non-melanoma skin cancer in Australia.1,5
  • Cancer costs more than $4.5 billion in direct health system costs (7%).6
  • In 2016-18, $252 million in funding was provided for cancer research projects and programs in Australia.7

More facts and figures

Also see cancer types and skin cancer facts and figures. The most recently published national cancer incidence and mortality figures are in the Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) books. The books can be viewed on the AIHW website. The AIHW website contains a range of useful publications.

Media enquiries about cancer facts or statistics should be directed to the Communications team.



  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Cancer in Australia: In brief 2019. Cancer series no. 122. Cat no. CAN 126. Canberra: AIHW.
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2012. Cancer incidence projections: Australia, 2011 to 2020. Cancer series no. 66. Cat. No. CAN 62. Canberra: AIHW.
  3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Australasian Association of Cancer Registries 2017. Cancer in Australia: in brief 2017. Cancer series no. 102. Cat no. CAN 101. Canberra: AIHW.
  4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Cancer Australia 2008. Non-melanoma skin cancer: general practice consultations, hospitalisations and mortality. Cancer series no. 43. Cat. no. 39. Canberra: AIHW.
  5. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018. ACIM (Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality) Books. Canberra: AIHW
  6. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2013. Health system expenditure on cancer and other neoplasms in Australia: 2008–09. Cancer series no. 81. Cat. no. 78. Canberra: AIHW.
  7. Cancer Australia 2016. Cancer research in Australia 2016 to 2018: Opportunities for strategic research investment – Highlights, Cancer Australia, Surry Hills, NSW.
For more information

How you can help

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  • volunteering your time
  • participating in an event or
  • making a donation to help fund our cancer research, education and support services.

This page was last updated on: Tuesday, May 14, 2019

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