Notes

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD–10)

Cancer is classified by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD–10). This is a statistical classification, published by the World Health Organization, in which each morbid condition is assigned a unique code according to established criteria.

Estimations

Future estimations for incidence and mortality are a mathematical extrapolation of past trends. They assume that the most recent trends will continue into the future, and are intended to illustrate future changes that might reasonably be expected to occur if the stated assumptions continue to apply over the estimated period. Actual future cancer incidence and mortality rates may vary from these estimations. For instance, new screening programs may increase the detection of new cancer cases; new vaccination programs may decrease the risk of developing cancer; and improvements in treatment options may decrease mortality rates.

Incidence

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

The 2013 national incidence counts include estimates for NSW because the actual data were not available. Note that actual data for the Australian Capital Territory do not include cases identified from death certificates.

The 2017 estimates are based on 2004–2013 incidence data. Due to rounding of these estimates, male and female incidence may not sum to person incidence.

For reporting by Indigenous stuatus, the 2008–2012 national incidence counts are considered of sufficient completeness for reporting New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Comparisons have been made throughout with non-Indigenous Australians, with the analysis excluding those for whom Indigenous status was not given.

Mortality

Cancer mortality refers to the number of deaths occurring during a specified time period (usually one year) for which the underlying cause of death is cancer.

The 2017 estimates are based on mortality data up to 2013. Joinpoint analysis was used on the longest time series of age–standardised rates available to determine the starting year of the most recent trend. 

For reporting by Indigenous stuatus, the 2010–2014 national mortality counts are considered of sufficient completeness for reporting New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. Comparisons have been made throughout with non-Indigenous Australians, with the analysis excluding those for whom Indigenous status was not given.

Survival

For reporting by Indigenous stuatus, data provided are for cancer-related crude survival estimates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for the period 2009–2013. Crude survival is the proportion of people alive at a specified point in time subsequent to the diagnosis of cancer.

Crude survival estimates were calculated using the period method, instead of the cohort method, as it provides more up-to-date estimates of survival and is widely used among cancer registries.

Note that survival rates have not been age-standardised to the Australian population so any differences between the age structures of the two populations could affect comparisons.

Prevalence

Prevalence of cancer refers to the number of people alive with a prior diagnosis of cancer at a given time. It is distinct from incidence, which is the number of new cancers diagnosed within a given period of time. The longest period for which it is possible to calculate prevalence using the available national data (from 1982 to 2012) is currently 31 years so this is used to provide an estimate of the ‘total’ prevalence of cancer as at the end of 2012, noting that people diagnosed with cancer before 1982 aren’t included.

Age standardised rates

Incidence and mortality rates expressed per 100,000 population are age–standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.