Cancers triple in Queensland in 30 year period

The number of cancers diagnosed each year in Queensland has more than tripled in 30 years, from 8250 cases diagnosed in 1982 to 25,614 cases in 2012, new Cancer Council stats show.

Cancer Council Queensland’s Cancer Research Centre has released 2012 data (the latest available) on cancer incidence, trends and mortality for Queensland.

Despite the increasing number of cancers diagnosed, the new figures show more Queenslanders are surviving cancer than ever before – with 85,140 Queensland cancer survivors alive in 2012 who had been diagnosed in the previous five years.

Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said the data demonstrated the need for enhanced statewide cancer control strategies.

“Cancer today, more than ever, is a community problem,” Ms Clift said.

“It is the largest component of total burden of disease and injury in Queensland, and a leading cause of deaths and avoidable deaths in the community.

“If current trends continue into the future, cancer will remain the leading burden of disease, impacting an increasing number of individuals and families, and placing an even greater burden on the community and the health system.

“Two in five Queenslanders are likely to develop cancer during their lifetime and one in seven is likely to die as a result.

“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 cancer survivors.”

Prostate cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2012, followed by melanoma and breast cancer.

“Prostate cancer accounted for 16 per cent of all cancer cases diagnosed in 2012, but the cancer has a high survival rate – 92 per cent of men diagnosed will survive more than five years,” Ms Clift said.

“The top five most common cancers in Queensland in 2012 were prostate cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer – consistent with previous years.

“Melanoma was the most common cancer diagnosed in Queenslanders under age 35, and the most common cancer diagnosed among those aged under 50 years (0-34 years and 35-49 combined).

“Mortality rates continued to decrease for many cancers in 2012 too, including colon, prostate, breast (females only), stomach cancer and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”

Across all cancer types, the average five year survival of a cancer diagnosis in Queensland was 69.5 per cent.

Of the ten most commonly diagnosed cancers, thyroid had the highest five year relative survival, followed by melanoma and prostate cancer.

The new data also revealed the causes of cancer death in Queensland in 2012.

“The leading cause of cancer death in 2012 was lung cancer, causing 20 per cent of the 8,363 cancer deaths, followed by colorectal cancer,” Ms Clift said.

“The greatest number of cancer deaths occurred among Queenslanders aged 65-79 years, followed by those aged 80 and over.

“Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death among Queenslanders aged 50 years and older, while breast cancer was the leading cause of death among those aged 35-49 years.

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

“We’re encouraging Queenslanders to 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 2012 Cancer Research Centre data is available online at

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
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171