Cancers more than triple in Queensland over 31 years

The number of cancers diagnosed each year in Queensland has more than tripled in 31 years, from 8274 cases diagnosed in 1982 to 26,335 cases in 2013, new Cancer Council data shows.

Cancer Council’s Cancer Research Centre has released 2013 data and trends (the latest available from the Queensland Cancer Registry) for incidence, survival, mortality and prevalence, providing the latest snapshot of cancer in Queensland.

The new data reveals one in two Queenslanders will be diagnosed with cancer and one in seven will die from the disease before 80 years of age.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Professor Jeff Dunn AO said cancer remained the leading cause of total disease burden and premature death in Queensland.

“At the end of 2013, there were 87,993 Queensland cancer survivors who had been diagnosed with the disease in the previous five years,” Prof Dunn said.

“While incidence may be increasing, our data shows more Queenslanders are surviving a cancer diagnosis today than at any other time in history.

“The latest snapshot of cancer in Queensland shows across all cancer types, the average five-year relative survival rate is 69.9 per cent.

“Of the 10 most common cancers, thyroid cancer had the highest five-year survival at 97 per cent, followed by prostate cancer (93.2 per cent) and melanoma (92.9 per cent).

“Much poorer survival still exists for Queenslanders diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and lung cancer, at around eight and 16 per cent respectively.

“In 2013, the leading cause of cancer death was lung cancer, causing 21 per cent of the 8,651 cancer deaths recorded.

Colorectal cancer was the second leading cause of cancer death, followed by prostate cancer, breast cancer and pancreatic cancer.

“Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death among those aged 50 years and older, while colorectal cancer was the leading cause of cancer death among those aged less than 50 years.”

The latest snapshot of cancer in Queensland shows 26,335 cancers were diagnosed in 2013, with 8651 people dying from the disease statewide.

Prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2013, accounting for 15 per cent of all cancers, followed by melanoma, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer.

The latest data also revealed changes in trends over time, since 1982.

“Since 2008, the cancer incidence rate for males has been decreasing by one per cent per year,” Prof Dunn said.

“The incidence rate for females has been increasing slightly by 0.6 per cent per year since 2004.

“Latest trends show that mortality rates are decreasing for many types of cancer, including prostate, breast, colorectal cancer, lung cancer in males, cervical cancer in females and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“In contrast, liver cancer mortality increased among both sexes, melanoma mortality increased among males, and pancreatic cancer mortality among females.”

Cancer Council urged Queenslanders to play their part in reducing risks of preventable cancers.

“We all have a role to play in cancer control – to reduce community risks, enable early detection, ensure access to lifesaving treatment, and support the growing number of Queenslanders who are surviving this disease,” Prof Dunn said.

“Assuming current rates remain stable, by 2021 it is estimated that over 34,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed each year in Queensland, placing an even greater burden on our community and the health system.

“While survival rates are improving, we know that one third of all cancers diagnosed every year can be prevented.

“Queenslanders should participate in recommended cancer screening, quit smoking, eat healthily, exercise, maintain a healthy weight, stay SunSmart and limit alcohol intake to reduce the risk of preventable cancers.”

The 2013 Cancer Research Centre data is available online at

Queenslanders aged 18 and over are encouraged to test their everyday health in Cancer Council’s first ever population-based Everyday Health Survey.

Queenslanders can complete the online survey at before February 29, 2016.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available via Cancer Council’s 13 11 20 or


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