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The current downward trend in cancer death rates looks set to continue, according to a report released today by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Cancer death rates have generally decreased over time, with the death rate from all cancers combined decreasing from 199 deaths per 100,000 people in 1968 to 167 per 100,000 in 2012.

The web-based release, Cancer mortality trends and projections: 2013 to 2025, shows that  between 2013 and 2025, the death rate from all cancers is predicted to continue this overall downward trend from an estimated 214 to 183 deaths per 100,000 males, and from 135 to 120 deaths per 100,000 females.

'While the death rate for cancer is predicted to decline, the estimated number of deaths from cancer is predicted to increase,' said AIHW spokesperson Justin Harvey.

Between 2013 and 2025, the number of deaths from cancer is predicted to increase from an estimated 25,580 to 32,010 deaths among males, and from 19,450 to 24,250 deaths among females.

The projected increase in the number of deaths is mainly due to the ageing and increasing size of the population.

'By looking at historical trends, we have been able to estimate cancer mortality in the future Australian population which is important to help plan future services. However, many other factors may affect cancer-related deaths in the future, some of which cannot yet be taken into account when preparing these estimates,' Mr Harvey said.

'For example, changes in diagnostic practices may lead to unexpected shifts in incidence and survival rates.

'Different management and treatment options, as well as changes in underlying risk factors in the population, also have the potential to alter the future death rates from those we have projected here.'

'It is therefore important to note that projections are not exact forecasts, but give an indication of what might be expected, and are dependent on current assumptions remaining valid into the future,' Mr Harvey said.

Today's release is available at http://www.aihw.gov.au/cancer/mortality-trends-projections.

The Institute has today also updated its general cancer web pages (available at http://www.aihw.gov.au/cancer/all-cancers).

These web pages present key data, information and trends over time for 12 key cancers and all cancers combined.

The AIHW is a major national agency set up by the Australian Government to provide reliable, regular and relevant information and statistics on Australia's health and welfare.

Canberra, 23 July 2015

Further information: Justin Harvey, AIHW, tel. (02) 6249 5057, mob. 0450 677 562