Cancer survival can be used as an indicator of cancer prognosis at a population level and of effectiveness of treatments provided.1
Relative survival refers to the probability of being alive for a given amount of time after diagnosis, compared with the experience of the general population. The measure '5-year relative survival at diagnosis’ (hereafter referred to as ‘5-year survival’) answers the question: "what is the probability that an individual will survive their cancer for 5 years after a cancer diagnosis”.
5-year relative survival was 69% for all cancers combined
In the period 2012–2016, people diagnosed with cancer were 69% as likely to survive for at least 5 years after being diagnosed compared to the overall population.
5-year relative survival ranged from 11% to 95% for the cancer types analysed
For the cancer types analysed, 5-year relative survival was highest for cancers of the prostate (95%), melanoma (92%) and female breast (91%). The lowest 5-year relative survival was for cancers of the pancreas (11%), unknown primary site (13%), lung (19%), liver (20%), oesophagus (22%) and brain (22%).
For all cancers combined, there have been improvements in 5-year relative survival since 1987–1991
In the period 2012–2016, 5-year relative survival was 69% for all cancers combined, compared to 51% for the 1987–1991 period. For each of the cancer types analysed, the 5-year relative survival was higher in 2012–2016 than in 1987–1991, except for bladder cancer.
The difference in 5-year relative survival between males and females has decreased over time
For all cancers combined in 1987–1991, the 5-year relative survival was higher in females (56%) than males (45%). This difference has decreased over time and the 5-year relative survival in the period 2012–2016 was similar for females (70%) and males (68%).
5-year observed survival for all cancers combined was lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
In the period 2010–2014, 5-year observed survival for all cancers combined was 48% for Indigenous Australians and 59% for non-Indigenous Australians.
5-year observed survival increased with increasing socioeconomic status
In the period 2011–2015, 5-year observed survival was higher in the highest SES areas for all cancers combined and most of the selected cancer types analysed.