04 Jul, 2022
All Australian states and territories have legislation mandating the notification of cancer diagnoses, and national cancer mortality data are available for the years 1968 to 2019.1 Projected estimates of annual cancer deaths are also available for the years 2020 and 2021.2,3
Cancer mortality in Australia is increasing overall
From 1968 to 2019, cancer mortality in Australia increased from 17,032 deaths to 49,035 deaths per year.
Cancer mortality rates are decreasing for most cancer types
From 1968 to 2019, age-standardised mortality rates decreased for all cancers combined, and for most cancer types, with exceptions including brain, liver and rectal cancer, and lung cancer in females.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have higher mortality rates for some cancers
Indigenous Australians experienced higher age-standardised mortality rates than non-Indigenous persons for cancers of the bladder, breast in females, cervix, head and neck, liver, lung, oesophagus, pancreas, uterus, and unknown primary site.
Disparities in cancer mortality in remote areas
In 2015–2019, the age-standardised mortality rate for all cancers combined was highest in Remote and Very Remote areas combined and lowest in Major Cities, (180.6 compared with 150.7 deaths per 100,000 persons).
Disparities in cancer mortality in lower SES areas
In 2015–2019, the age-standardised mortality rate for all cancers combined was highest in the lowest SES areas (SES1 quintile, 184.9 deaths per 100,000 persons compared with the highest SES area (SES 5 quintile, 130.2 deaths per 100,000 persons).
Australia's cancer mortality rate is lower than the estimated global average
The projected age-standardised cancer mortality rate in Australia was about 18% lower than the estimated global rate for 2020.