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 ranged from 9% to 96% for the cancer types analysed
In the period 2011–2015, 5-year relative survival was 69.1% for all cancers combined. For the cancer types analysed, 5-year relative survival was highest for cancers of the prostate (95.5%), melanoma (91.4%) and female breast (91.1%). The lowest 5-year relative survival was for cancers of the pancreas (10.4%), unknown primary site (13.9%), lung (17.8%), liver (19.4%), oesophagus (23.1%) and brain (23.1%).
For all cancers combined, there have been improvements in 5-year relative survival since 1986-1990
In the period 2011–2015, 5-year relative survival was 68.9% for all cancers combined, compared to 50.0% for the 1986–1990 period. For each of the cancer types analysed, the 5-year relative survival was higher in 2011–2015 than in 1986–1990, except for bladder cancer.
5-year observed survival for all cancers combined was lower for Indigenous Australians
In the period 2010–2014, 5-year observed survival for all cancers combined was 44.9% for Indigenous Australians and 58.2% for non-Indigenous Australians.
The difference in 5-year relative survival between males and females has decreased over time
For all cancers combined in 1986–1990, the 5-year relative survival was higher in females (56.2%) than males (44.5%). This difference has decreased over time and the 5-year relative survival in the period 2011–2015 was similar for females (69.9%) and males (68.1%).
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.