Cancer Council Australia

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Facts and figures

Cancer in Australia

  • An estimated 145,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year, with that number set to rise to 150,000 by 2020.
  • 1 in 2 Australian men and women will be diagnosed with cancer by the age of 85.
  • Cancer is a leading cause of death in Australia - almost 50,000 deaths from cancer are estimated for 2019. In 2014, cancer was the second most common cause of death in Australia and accounted for about 3 in 10 deaths.
  • Around 17,500 more people die each year from cancer than 30 years ago, this is due mainly to population growth and ageing. However, the death rate (number of deaths per 100,000 people) has fallen by more than 24%.
  • 69% of people diagnosed with cancer in Australia are still alive five years after a cancer diagnosis.
  • The most common cancers in Australia (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) are prostate, breastcolorectal (bowel)melanoma and lung cancer. These five cancers account for around 60% of all cancers diagnosed in Australia.
  • In 2008, it was estimated that every year around 434,000 people will be diagnosed with one or more non-melanoma skin cancer in Australia. In 2015, 642 people died from non-melanoma skin cancer in Australia.
  • Cancer costs more than $4.5 billion in direct health system costs (6.9%).
  • In 2006-2011, $1.77 billion in funding was provided for cancer research in Australia.

More facts and figures

Also see cancer types and skin cancer facts and figures. The most recently published national cancer incidence and mortality figures are in the Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) books. The books can be viewed on the AIHW website. The AIHW website contains a range of useful publications.

Media enquiries about cancer facts or statistics should be directed to the Communications team.


  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Australasian Association of Cancer Registries 2017. Cancer in Australia: in brief 2017. Cancer series no. 102. Cat. no. CAN 101. Canberra: AIHW.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. ACIM (Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality) Books. Canberra: AIHW.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare & Cancer Australia 2008. Non-melanoma skin cancer: general practice consultations, hospitalisation and mortality. Cancer series no. 43. Cat. no. 39.Canberra: AIHW.
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2013. Health system expenditure on cancer and other neoplasms in Australia 2008-2009. Cancer series no. 81. Cat. No. 78. Canberra: AIHW
  • Cancer Australia, 2015. Cancer Research in Australia: an overview of funding initiatives to support cancer research capacity in Australia. 2006 to 2011, Cancer Australia, Surry Hills, NSW.
For more information

How you can help

You can support Cancer Council by:

  • volunteering your time
  • participating in an event or
  • making a donation to help fund our cancer research, education and support services.

This page was last updated on: Wednesday, April 3, 2019

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