Between January 2010 and December 2014, 431,704 Australians were diagnosed with cancer and were still alive at the end of 2014. Prostate cancer had the highest five-year prevalence in this period (90,354 persons) followed by breast cancer (71,394), melanoma of the skin (55,128), and colorectal cancer (54,046).
Five-year prevalence rates were higher among males due to higher rates among males than females in older age groups (55 years and over). For example, 8.0% of men aged 65–74 had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous five years compared with 4.9% of females. Of these men aged 65–74, 49.1% had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The female rate was higher than the male rate among those aged 45–54, with 2.0% of women in this age group having been diagnosed with cancer in the previous five years compared with 1.4% of males. Of these women aged 45–54, 48% were diagnosed with breast cancer.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
For those parts of Australia where data were available, a lower proportion of Indigenous Australians (1.0%) were observed to have been diagnosed with a cancer in the previous five years when compared with non-Indigenous Australians (1.4%). The disparity in five-year prevalence rates varied by cancer type, however. Five-year prevalence rates for lung, head and neck (incl. lip), uterine, and cervical cancer were higher among Indigenous Australians, while corresponding prevalence rates for prostate and female breast cancer were higher among non-Indigenous Australians.
Remoteness and socioeconomic status (SES)
Five-year prevalence rates for all cancers combined were similar across socioeconomic status areas and remoteness areas, with the exception of Remote and Very Remote areas which had the lowest prevalence rates for both males and females.
There are some noticeable variations in five-year prevalence rate by cancer type however. For example, although overall prevalence numbers were relatively low for head and neck cancer, five-year prevalence rates were much higher in relative terms for males (0.09%) than females (0.03%), and were higher among males in the lowest SES areas than among those in the highest SES areas.