Lung cancer in Australia

Lung cancer incorporates ICD–10 cancer codes C33 (malignant neoplasm of trachea) and C34 (malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung).

New cases of lung cancer

Lung cancer was the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2013. It is estimated that it will remain the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2017.

In 2013, there were 11,174 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in Australia (6,627 males and 4,548 females). In 2017, it is estimated that 12,434 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (7,094 males and 5,340 females).

In 2013, the age–standardised incidence rate was 43 cases per 100,000 persons (55 for males and 33 for females). In 2017, it is estimated that the age–standardised incidence rate will be 42 cases per 100,000 persons (52 for males and 35 for females). The incidence rate of lung cancer is expected to generally increase with age.

In 2017, it is estimated that the risk of an individual being diagnosed with lung cancer by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 17 (1 in 14 males and 1 in 21 females).

The number of new cases of lung cancer diagnosed increased from 5,951 (4,691 males and 1,260 females) in 1982 to 11,174 in 2013. Over the same period, the age–standardised incidence rate decreased from 47 cases per 100,000 persons (85 for males 18 for females) in 1982 to 43 cases per 100,000 persons in 2013.

Estimated most common cancers diagnosed in 2017

Cancer type New cases 2017 % of all new cancers 2017
Breast 17,730 13.2
Breast (among females) 17,586 28.4
Colorectal (bowel) 16,682 12.4
Prostate (among males) 16,665 23.1
Melanoma 13,941 10.4
Lung 12,434 9.3

Deaths from lung cancer

In 2014, lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths in Australia. It is estimated that it will remain the most common cause of death from cancer in 2017.

In 2014, there were 8,251 deaths from lung cancer in Australia (4,947 males and 3,304 females). In 2017, it is estimated that this will increase to 9,021 deaths (5,179 males and 3,842 females).

In 2014, the age–standardised mortality rate was 31 deaths per 100,000 persons (40 for males and 23 for females). In 2017, it is estimated that the age–standardised mortality rate will be 31 deaths per 100,000 persons (38 for males and 24 for females). The mortality rate of lung cancer will generally increase with age for both males and females.

In 2017, it is estimated that the risk of an individual dying from lung cancer by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 23 (1 in 18 males and 1 in 29 females).

The number of deaths from lung cancer increased from 2,883 (2,509 males and 374 females) in 1968 to 8,251 in 2014. Over the same period, the age–standardised mortality rate increased from 32 deaths per 100,000 persons (62 for males and 7.8 for females) in 1968 to a high of 43 per 100,000 (74 for males and 20 for females) in 1989 before decreasing to 31 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2014. This decrease in mortality has largely been seen in males. While age–standardised rates for lung cancer in females has been lower than that in males, the age–standardised rate has increased to 23 per 100,000 females in 2014.

Estimated age-specific incidence and mortality rates for lung cancer, by sex, 2017

This line chart presents the estimated age-specific incidence (solid line) and mortality (dashed line) rates of lung cancer for males (blue), females (purple) and persons (green) in 2017. The age-specific incidence and mortality rates are shown on the primary (left) y-axis, with 5-year age groups from ages 0–4 to 85+ shown on the x-axis.

Source: AIHW [5].

This line chart presents the estimated age-standardised incidence (solid line) and mortality (dashed line) rates (per 100,000) of lung cancer for males (blue), females (purple) and persons (green) over the period 1982–2013 for incidence and 1968–2014 for mortality. The age standardised incidence and mortality rates, expressed per 100,000 persons, are shown on the primary (left) y-axis. Years from 1968 to 2014 are presented on the x-axis.

Source: AIHW [5].

Survival from lung cancer

In 2009–2013, individuals diagnosed with lung cancer had a 16% chance (14% for males and 19% for females) of surviving for 5 years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population.

Between 1984–1988 and 2009–2013, 5-year relative survival from lung cancer improved from 9% to 16%.

5-year relative survival from lung cancer, 1984–1988 to 2009–2013

This line chart presents 5-year relative survival at diagnosis for lung cancer by males, females and persons over the period 1984–1988 to 2009–2013. The percentage of survival is presented on the y-axis.

Source: AIHW [13].

Survivorship population for lung cancer

The survivorship population is measured using prevalence data. Prevalence refers to the number of people alive who have previously been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The prevalence for 1, 5 and 31 years given below are the number of people living with lung cancer at the end of 2012 who had been diagnosed in the preceding 1, 5 and 31 years respectively.

At the end of 2012, there were 6,951 people living who had been diagnosed with lung cancer that year, 15,924 people who had been diagnosed with lung cancer in the previous 5 years (from 2008 to 2012) and 25,381 people who had been diagnosed with lung cancer in the previous 31 years (from 1982 to 2012).

References

5. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) books: Lung cancer. Canberra: AIHW. [Accessed February 2017].

13. AIHW 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no. 101. Cat. No. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.