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Among adults aged 45–64, there were 19,731 deaths in 2012 (or 349 deaths per 100,000 population aged 45-64). Since 1997, there was a 26% decrease in the death rate (from 471 deaths per 100,000 to 349 deaths per 100,000 in 2012).

There was a substantial decline in the mortality rate for coronary heart disease in particular (Figure 8.1).

Fewer than half (48%) of deaths in this age group were considered potentially avoidable.

Figure 8.1: Death rates among adults aged 45–64, by sex, 1997–2012

Premature mortality ages 45-64: death rate trends PNG

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database. (Table S1, 524KB XLS).

Chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, lung cancer, breast cancer and colorectal cancer were the leading causes of death in this age group (Table 8.1).

Suicide was the 5th leading cause of death.

Among men aged 45–64, the leading causes of death were coronary heart disease (15%), lung cancer (8.9%) and suicide (5%).

Among women aged 45–64, the leading causes of death were breast cancer (13%), lung cancer (11%) and coronary heart disease (5.7%).

Table 8.1: Leading causes of death among adults aged 45–64, 2010–2012
Rank Cause of death Deaths Per cent
1 Coronary heart disease (chronic)
see fact sheet and GRIM book.
6,882 Premature mortality ages 45-64: coronary heart disease PNG
2 Lung cancer (cancer)
see fact sheet and GRIM book.
5,726 Premature mortality ages 45-64: lung cancer PNG
3 Breast cancer (cancer)
see fact sheet and GRIM book.
2,964 Premature mortality ages 45-64: breast cancer PNG
4 Colorectal cancer (cancer)
see fact sheet and GRIM book.
2,688 Premature mortality ages 45-64: colorectal cancer PNG
5 Suicide (injury)
see fact sheet and GRIM book.
2,420 Premature mortality ages 45-64: suicide PNG


  1. Colours indicate broad cause of death category.
    blue = chronic disease, orange = cancer, purple = injury & poisoning, green = other cause of death.
  2. Injury and poisoning death data should be interpreted with caution due to the potential for revision (see Source data).

Source: AIHW National Mortality Database (Table S2, 524KB XLS).