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A note of caution about cancer data 

It is strongly advised that users familiarise themselves with the scope and caveats of the Australian Cancer Database, the source of national cancer incidence data. This information should be taken into account when reporting such data.

The AIHW requests that recognition be given when using data from this site, or when assistance has been provided for publications and reports based on these data.  

How to request additional data 

In addition to online cancer data the AIHW is able to make available a broad range of cancer statistics through external projects, ad hoc data requests and data linkage to the Australian Cancer Database.

These data can be requested via a customised data request.

Requests for data are charged on a cost-recovery basis. The length of time it takes to complete a request or linkage depends on a number of factors such as the complexity of the work, competing projects, the ethics application process, additional approvals and correspondence with cancer registries where necessary.

Ad hoc data requests 

The Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality workbooks provide national incidence and mortality statistics disaggregated by year, age, sex and cancer type for major cancers and all cancers combined.

Further national cancer data can be requested for:

  • More specific groupings of cancer types, e.g. using histology codes
  • Other variables (listed on the Australian Cancer Database page), subject to availability and approval.

In addition to incidence and mortality, survival and prevalence data can also be computed. There are currently no national data on stage or treatment.

Users are encouraged to send a clear description or a table shell of the requested data as this will greatly reduce the time and cost spent on a request.

Approval requirements for data release 

Requests for tabulated data that involve small numbers or data at the state and territory level may require additional ethics and data custodian approval.

Requests involving de-identified unit record data will also require additional clearance depending on the level of de-identification. These may range between AIHW and data custodian clearance to ethics committee approvals from the AIHW and the state and territory cancer registries.

Data linkage to the Australian Cancer Database 

Data linkage is a valuable tool for health research and brings together information from two or more databases using probabilistic linkage methodology. The AIHW is able to conduct data linkage to the Australian Cancer Database after a strict scientific and ethical review process.

Approvals are required from the AIHW Ethics Committee and all the state and territory cancer registries including their ethics committees. Securing approval can take from several months to a year and should be factored into project planning.

Data fields required for linkage are names, sex, date of birth and state of residence or postcode where available. Linkage results from the Australian Cancer Database typically include:

  • date of diagnosis
  • state of cancer registration
  • ICD-O-3 topography code
  • ICD-O-3 histology code
  • ICD-10 disease code
  • basis of diagnosis.

Researchers should contact the Cancer and Screening Unit to discuss their project before submitting an ethics application.