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All cancers combined (C00–C97, D45, D46, D47.1, D47.3)

Cancer is a diverse group of diseases, and while each has its own specific risk factors, progression, treatment and prognosis, reporting and projecting the mortality of all cancers combined is a useful measure of the total cancer disease burden in the population.

In 2011, a total of 118,711 new cases of cancer were diagnosed (cancer incidence), at a rate of 484 new cancer cases per 100,000 persons. In 2012, there were 43,039 cancer-related deaths, accounting for 29.3% of all deaths in that year (cancer mortality).

Deaths from all cancers combined generally decreased over time: from 199 deaths per 100,000 persons in 1968, to 167 per 100,000 in 2012. Between 1994 and 2012, the mortality rate from all cancers combined decreased significantly by 2.6 deaths per 100,000 persons per year.

This decreasing trend is predicted to continue, with an estimated 56,265 deaths from all cancers combined projected for 2025.

The decreasing trend in cancer-related mortality is influenced overall by total cancer incidence and total cancer survival. It is driven by mortality trends in individual cancers, particularly those that are most commonly diagnosed (bowel cancer, prostate cancer in males, breast cancer in females, lung cancer and melanoma of the skin). General factors that influence the mortality of individual cancers include:

  • the virulence (severity) of the cancer
  • diagnosis, management and treatment options
  • individual characteristics (age, sex, comorbid conditions)
  • underlying risk (factors) in the individual and population.

Projection summary

Between 2013 and 2025, the mortality rate for all cancers combined is predicted to decrease for males and females:

  • from an estimated 214 to 183 deaths per 100,000 males
  • from an estimated 135 to 120 deaths per 100,000 females.

Between 2013 and 2025, the number of deaths from all cancers combined is predicted to increase for males and females:

  • from an estimated 25,580 to 32,010 deaths among males
  • from an estimated 19,450 to 24,250 deaths among females.

Males

Trend analysis of age-standardised rates shows that mortality from all cancers combined decreased significantly by around 4.1 deaths per 100,000 males per year, between 1994 and 2012. The mortality projections model for all cancers combined among males was extrapolated from the actual age-specific rates between 1994 and 2012.

Between 2013 and 2025, the rate of deaths from all cancers combined is projected to continue to decrease, while the number of deaths is projected to increase (Figure 1). In 2025, the mortality rate from all cancers combined is projected to be 183 deaths per 100,000 males, an estimated 32,010 deaths in that year.

The overall decreasing trend in mortality rates for all cancers combined is predicted to hold for most age groups with the exception of males aged 85 and over. The mortality rate among this age group is projected to remain stable between 2013 and 2025, with an estimated 3,168 deaths per 100,000 males aged 85 and over, in 2025.

The overall increasing trend in the number of deaths from all cancers combined, is driven by a projected increase in the number of deaths among males aged 65–84 and 85 and over, with an estimated 19,080 and 7,870deaths, respectively, in 2025.

Figure 1: Trend in number and age-standardised rate of deaths due to cancer, trend 1968–2012 and projected 2013 to 2025: males, all cancers combined

Cancer projections - deaths - males - to 2025 PNG

Notes:

  1. All cancers combined includes ICD-10 codes C00–C96, D45, D46, D47.1, D47.3.
  2. Projected estimates are based on mortality data for all cancers combined from 1994, and ABS population projections.
  3. Rates are age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001, and are expressed per 100,000 males

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database, projected 2013 to 2025. Download data table (51KB XLS)

Females

Trend analysis of age-standardised rates shows that mortality from all cancers combined significantly decreased by 1.8 deaths per 100,000 females per year between 1995 and 2012. The mortality projections model for all cancers combined among males was extrapolated from the actual age-specific trends between 1995 and 2012.

Between 2013 and 2025, the rate of deaths from all cancers combined is projected to continue to decrease, while the number of deaths is projected to increase (Figure 2). In 2025, the mortality rate from all cancers combined is projected to be 120 deaths per 100,000 females, an estimated 24,250 deaths in that year.

The overall decreasing trend in mortality rates for all cancers combined is predicted to hold for most age groups with the exception of females aged 85 and over. The mortality rate among this age group is projected to increase between 2013 and 2025, with an estimated 1,687 deaths per 100,000 females aged 85 and over, in 2025.

The overall increasing trend in the number of deaths from all cancers combined, is driven by a projected increase in the number of deaths among females aged 65–84 and 85 and over, with an estimated 13,460 and 6,210 deaths, respectively, in 2025.

Figure 2: Trend in number and age-standardised rate of deaths due to cancer, trend 1968–2012 and projected 2013 to 2025: females, all cancers combined

Cancer projections - deaths - females - to 2025

Notes:

  1. All cancers combined includes ICD-10 codes C00–C96, D45, D46, D47.1, D47.3.
  2. Projected estimates are based on mortality data for all cancers combined from 1995, and ABS population projections.
  3. Rates are age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001, and are expressed per 100,000 males.

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database, projected 2013 to 2025. Download data table (51KB XLS)


Definitions

Incidence
Incidence indicates the number of new cancers diagnosed during a specified time period (usually one year).

Mortality
Mortality refers to the number of deaths that occur at a specific time (usually one year) for which the underlying cause of death is cancer.

Prevalence
Prevalence refers to the number of people alive with a prior diagnosis of cancer at a given point in time. It is distinct from incidence, which is the number of all new cancer diagnosed within a given period of time.

Survival
A general term indicating the probability of being alive for a given amount time after a particular event, such as a diagnosis of cancer.

Projections methodology

Cancer mortality projections are a mathematical extrapolation of past trends. They assume that the most recent trend will continue into the future, and are intended to illustrate future changes that might reasonably be expected to occur if the stated assumptions were to apply over the projection period.

The nature of the projection method used and inherent fluctuations in both cancer incidence and mortality trends and population dynamics mean that care should be taken when using and interpreting the projections presented on this page. Specifically, the projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to allow for changes which may affect future cancer mortality rates, including:

  • changes in cancer detection methods, such as the introduction of new screening programs
  • changes in cancer risk factors, such as the introduction of vaccination programs or increasing obesity or smoking rates
  • changes and improvements to treatment, such as targeted therapies and emerging technologies
  • changes in government policy, economic factors, catastrophes, wars or epidemics.

Further information


References

ABS 2013a. Population projections, Australia, 2012 (base) to 2101. ABS cat no. 3222.0. Canberra: ABS.

ABS 2013b. Standard population for use in age-standardisation. ABS cat. no. 3101.0. Canberra: ABS.

AIHW 2011. Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia. Cancer series no. 62. Cat. no. CAN 59. Canberra: AIHW.

AIHW 2012a. Cancer incidence projections: Australia, 2011 to 2020. Cancer Series no. 66. Cat. No. CAN 62. Canberra: AIHW.

AIHW 2012b. Cancer survival and prevalence in Australia: period estimates from 1982 to 2010. Cancer Series no. 69. Cat. no. CAN 65. Canberra: AIHW.

AIHW 2014a. Australia’s health 2014. Australia’s health series no. 14. Cat. no. AUS 178. Canberra: AIHW.

AIHW 2014b. Cancer in Australia: an overview 2014. Cancer series No 90. Cat. no. CAN 88. Canberra: AIHW.

AIHW & Cancer Australia 2013. Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of Australia: an overview. Cancer series no.78. Cat. no. CAN 75. Canberra: AIHW.

Baade P & Coory M 2005. Trends in melanoma mortality in Australia: 1950–2002 and their implications for melanoma control. Australian and New Zealand journal of public health 29:383–6.

NCI 2013. Joinpoint regression program. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services. Viewed 22 July 2013 http://surveillance.cancer.gov/joinpoint/.

Ontario CC 2006. Cancer in young adults in Canada. Toronto: Cancer Care Ontario.

Tracey E, Ling L, Baker D, Dobrovic A & Bishop J 2009. Cancer in New South Wales: incidence and mortality 2007. Sydney: Cancer Institute NSW.

Yang L, Fujimoto J, Qiu D & Sakamoto N 2009. Trends in cancer mortality in Japanese adolescents and young adults aged 15–29 years, 1970–2006. Annals of Oncology 20:758–66