This report provides estimates of Australia's health system expenditure on care for those with cancer and on the prevention and treatment of cancer. The report presents cancer expenditure by age group, sex and type of cancer, and it compares health system expenditure on cancer in 2008-09 to 2004-05 and 2000-01 in constant prices (see Glossary).

Expenditure estimates included in this report are based on health system expenditure that can be directly attributed to cancer. Not included in this analysis are expenditure on items such as capital goods, including equipment used exclusively for the treatment of individual chronic diseases (such as, linear accelerators for cancer) and expenditure on health administration other than for cancer screening programs (see Chapter 3 for more detail).

All references to "total health system expenditure" within this report relate to "total health system expenditure on chronic disease" unless otherwise stated. Not all health system expenditure can be allocated to specific diseases. There are other limitations to the data, and these are explained in Chapter 2.

Main findings

In 2008-09:

  •  Total health system expenditure in Australia on cancer and other neoplasms (excluding national population screening programs) was $4,526 million, which was 7% of total health system expenditure on chronic disease ($65,129 million). Total expenditure (in 2008-09 prices) on cancer has increased from $2,894 million in 2000-01 and $3,640 million in 2004-05.
  • Cancer ranked sixth in terms of Australia's estimated total health system expenditure on chronic diseases.
  • Cancer expenditure for hospital admitted patient services totalled $3,566 million (79%), out-of-hospital services totalled $420 million (9%), and prescription pharmaceuticals totaled $540 million (12%).
  • Total health system expenditure for cancer was higher for older age groups; increasing from $83 million for people aged 15-24 to a maximum of $1,117 million for those aged 65-74.
  • Colorectal cancer accounted for the highest expenditure, followed by non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukaemia, and breast cancer.
  • Expenditure on national population screening programs totalled just over $332.2 million, comprising $174.5 million for BreastScreen Australia, $125.2 million for cervical screening, and $32.5 million for bowel cancer screening.
  • Total health system expenditure on national population screening programs in 2000-01 was $184.1 million (BreastScreen Australia and the National Cervical Screening Program). In 2008-09, this increased to $332.2 million (current prices) partly due to the introduction of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program in 2006.