Australians face one new case of cancer every four minutes

Health Professional Cancer Network

One new cancer case will be diagnosed every four minutes in Australia in 2017, a new Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report has found.

Cancer in Australia 2017 estimates more than 134,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed nationally this year – almost three times the number diagnosed in 1982.

The highest incidence rates for all cancers combined between 2008 and 2012 (the latest figures available) were recorded in Queensland – a rate of 532 cases of cancer per 100,000 people.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said survival had improved for most cancer types in Australia over recent years.

“At the end of 2012, 410,530 Australians were alive who had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous five years,” Ms Clift said.

“More than 994,000 Australians are alive today after being diagnosed with cancer in the previous three decades.

“Overall, Australians diagnosed with cancer have a 68 per cent chance of surviving for at least five years, compared to the general population – and we expect survival overall to continue to improve.

“While more cancer cases will be diagnosed in Australia in coming years, rates overall are falling and survival rates are improving.

“These are significant findings that demonstrate the tremendous impacts of our ongoing efforts to defeat this dreaded disease through investments in research, prevention, early detection, and support services for patients.

“However, the report also reminds us that we have more work to do, with cancer continuing as the leading cause of disease burden in Australia.”

Despite high survival and prevalence rates, the cancer burden was almost entirely due to Australians dying prematurely (94 per cent), with only six per cent of the burden attributed to people living with cancer.

The report estimates more than 47,753 Australians will die from cancer this year alone – an average of 131 people every day.

Lung cancer is expected to be the leading cause of cancer death in both males and females in 2017 – followed by prostate cancer in males and breast cancer in females,” Ms Clift said.

“Compared with major cities, people living in very remote areas of Australia are 1.2 times more likely to die from all cancers combined.

“The report reinforces the need for further research and strategies to address health inequities nationally, giving all Australians the best possible prospects for effectively catching, treating, and beating this chronic disease.”

Tomorrow, Saturday 4 February is World Cancer Day – a global initiative focusing on the fight against cancer.

Queenslanders can get involved today and help spread the word about World Cancer Day via social media with the hashtags #WorldCancerDay and #WeCanICan.

For more information about World Cancer Day and ways to help all Queenslanders affected by all cancers, visit

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at or via 13 11 20.


For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift,
Executive Manager,
Media and Spokesperson,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5372
Mobile: 0409 001 171