12 key facts from the national cancer report

Liver cancer on the rise, and survival with bladder cancer has declined

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare have published their report Cancer in Australia 2019.


Here are the top 12 findings:

  1. Five-year survival rates for all cancers combined have improved from 50% in 1986-1990 to 69% in 2011-2015.
  2. Testicular cancer, thyroid and prostate cancer have the best five-year survival rates at 98%, 97% and 95% respectively.
  3. Mesothelioma, cancer of other digestive organs (where the primary site is not stated) and pancreatic cancer have the worst five-year survival rates at 6.1%, 8.8% and 9.8% respectively.
  4. Age-standardised death rates from liver cancer have more than doubled since 1982.
  5. Age-standardised incidence rates for thyroid cancer and liver cancer have both nearly quadrupled since 1982. Better diagnostic techniques such as neck ultrasound are likely responsible for the rise in thyroid cancer incidence.
  6. Bladder cancer is the only cancer with a significant decrease in five-year survival rates (from approximately 67% to 53% between 1986-1990 and 2011-2015.
  7. People in their 20s have the highest five-year relative survival rates.
  8. 78% of cases of melanoma of the skin are diagnosed at stage I when five-year survival rate is close to 100%.
  9. 43% of breast cancer is diagnosed at stage I with almost all patients surviving for five years.
  10. Colorectal cancer is almost equally likely to be diagnosed at stage I, stage II or stage III, with between 22-24% of patients in each stage. Five-year survival rates decline from close to 100% for stage I to about 72% for stage III.
  11. 82% of men with prostate cancer are diagnosed at stages I or II. Five-year survival is close to 100% for stage I, II or III diagnosis.
  12. 42% of lung cancer is diagnosed at stage IV when five-year survival for diagnosis is just 3%.  

More information: AIHW report: Cancer in Australia 2019