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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cancer statistics

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people cancer statistics

The following material has been sourced from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

The following information incorporates the most up-to-date data available to describe the incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence of cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia.  The ICD-10 cancer codes associated with ‘All cancers combined’ and individual cancer types can be found on their respective pages.


Number of new cancer cases diagnosed in Indigenous Australians, 2010–2014

8,481 = male icon 4,262 males + female icon 4,219 females


Number of deaths from cancer in Indigenous Australians, 2012–2016

2,917 = male icon 1,518 males + female icon 1,399 females


Chance of surviving at least 5 years (2010–2014)

48%

 


Indigenous Australians living with cancer at the end of 2013 (diagnosed in the 5 year period 2008 to 2013)

3,626

 


Key findings

The age-standardised incidence rate and mortality rate for all cancers combined is higher for Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians. The higher incidence rate may be related to high prevalence of cancer-related modifiable risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption and Hepatitis B infection, along with lower participation in cancer screening in Indigenous Australians. The higher mortality rate may be partly due to the fact that Indigenous Australians generally have poorer access to health-care services and are more likely to have cancers that are diagnosed at a later stage than non-Indigenous Australians. 

New cases of cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia 

In 2010–2014, there were 8,481 new cases of cancer diagnosed in Indigenous Australians (4,262 cases in males and 4,219 cases in females) in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. 

During 2010–2014, lung cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Indigenous Australians (1,211 cases), followed by breast cancer (in females) (984 cases), colorectal cancer (840 cases), prostate cancer (771 cases), and head and neck cancer (536 cases). ​

Figure 1. Most common cancers diagnosed in Indigenous Australians, 2010–2014 

Note: Data sourced from AIHW Cancer in Australia 2019 report data tables 

Data for age-standardised and age-specific incidence rates are available for the period 2009–2013. 

In 2009–2013, the age-standardised incidence rate for Indigenous Australians was 501 cases per 100,000 persons (561 for males and 460 for females). The age-standardised incidence rate for non-Indigenous Australians during the same period was 438 cases per 100,000 persons (519 for males and 371 for females).  

In 2009–2013, the age-specific incidence rate for all cancers combined increased with age for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The age-specific incidence rate for all cancers combined was similar or higher in Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians for all age groups. 

 

Figure 2. Age-specific incidence rates of all cancers combined in persons, by age group and Indigenous status, 2009–2013 

Note: Data sourced from AIHW 2018 Cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia data tables 

 

Deaths from cancer in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Australia  

In 2012–2016, 2,917 Indigenous Australians died from cancer (1,518 males and 1,399 females) in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory.  

During 2012–2016, lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer death in Indigenous Australians (780 deaths), followed by colorectal cancer (213 deaths), head and neck cancer (204 deaths), liver cancer (202 deaths), and cancer of unknown primary site (195 deaths).;

Figure 3. Most common causes of cancer death in Indigenous Australians, 2012–2016 

Note: Data sourced from AIHW Cancer in Australia 2019 data tables 

Data for age-standardised and age-specific mortality rates are available for the period 2012–2016.  

In 2012–2016, the age-standardised mortality rate among Indigenous Australians was 235 deaths per 100,000 persons (268 for males and 209 for females). During the same period, the age-standardised mortality rate was 164 deaths per 100,000 persons for non-Indigenous Australians (206 for males and 131 for females). 

In 2012–2016, the age-specific mortality rate for all cancers combined increased with age for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. The age-specific mortality rate was similar or higher in Indigenous Australians than non-Indigenous Australians for all age groups. 

Figure 4. Age-specific mortality rates of all cancers combined in persons, by age group and Indigenous status, 2012–2016 

Note: Data sourced from AIHW National Mortality Database

Survival  

In 2010–2014, Indigenous Australians diagnosed with cancer had a 48% chance, on average, of surviving at least five years. For non-Indigenous Australians, the five-year survival rate for all cancers combined was 59%.

Prevalence  

At the end of 2013, there were 1,058 Indigenous Australians (487 males and 571 females) living who had been diagnosed with cancer that year. During the same period, there were 79,662 non-Indigenous Australians (42,927 males and 36,735 females) living in the same selected states who had been diagnosed with cancers that year. 

At the end of 2013, there were 3,626 Indigenous Australians (1,616 males and 2,010 females) living who had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous five years. During the same period, 313,894 non-Indigenous Australians (170,747 males and 143,147 females) were living in the same selected states who had been diagnosed with cancer in the previous five years. 

 

For more information on cancer data, see the NCCI website

The National Cancer Control Indicators (NCCI) are a set of indicators across the continuum of cancer care, from Prevention and Screening through to Diagnosis, Treatment, Psychosocial care, Research and Outcomes.  The NCCI website allows users to see visual representations of data on each indicator through interactive charts. 

References

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2019. Cancer in Australia 2019. Accessed May 2019; https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-in-australia-2019/data 

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2018. Cancer in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people of Australia. Accessed May 2019; https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-in-indigenous-australians/contents/table-of-contents