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Lung cancer in Australia

Lung cancer incorporates ICD-10 cancer codes C33 (Malignant neoplasm of trachea) and C34 (Malignant neoplasm of bronchus and lung).


Estimated number of new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in 2017

12,434 = Male icon PNG 7,094 males + Female icon PNG 5,340 females


Lung cancer % of all new cancer cases PNG

Estimated % of all new cancer cases diagnosed in 2017

9.3%


Estimated number of deaths from lung cancer in 2017

9,021 = Male icon PNG 5,179 males + Female icon PNG 3,842 females


Lung cancer % of all new cancer cases PNG

Estimated % of all deaths from cancer in 2017

18.9%


16-in-100

Chance of surviving at least 5 years (2009–2013)

16%


Lots of people PNG

People living with lung cancer at the end of 2012 (diagnosed in the 5 year period 2008 to 2012)

15,924


New cases of lung cancer

Lung cancer was the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2013. It is estimated that it will remain the 5th most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2017 (Table 1).

In 2013, there were 11,174 new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in Australia (6,627 males and 4,548 females). In 2017, it is estimated that 12,434 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (7,094 males and 5,340 females).

In 2013, the age–standardised incidence rate was 43 cases per 100,000 persons (55 for males and 33 for females). In 2017, it is estimated that the age–standardised incidence rate will be 42 cases per 100,000 persons (52 for males and 35 for females). The incidence rate of lung cancer is expected to generally increase with age (Figure 1).

In 2017, it is estimated that the risk of an individual being diagnosed with lung cancer by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 17 (1 in 14 males and 1 in 21 females).

The number of new cases of lung cancer diagnosed increased from 5,951 (4,691 males and 1,260 females) in 1982 to 11,174 in 2013. Over the same period, the age–standardised incidence rate decreased from 47 cases per 100,000 persons (85 for males 18 for females) in 1982 to 43 cases per 100,000 persons in 2013 (Figure 2).

Table 1: Estimated most common cancers diagnosed in 2017
Cancer type New cases 2017 % of all new cancers 2017
Breast 17,730 13.2
Breast (among females) 17,586 28.4
Colorectal (bowel) 16,682 12.4
Prostate (among males) 16,665 23.1
Melanoma 13,941 10.4
Lung 12,434 9.3

Deaths from lung cancer

In 2014, lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths in Australia. It is estimated that it will remain the most common cause of death from cancer in 2017 (Table 2).

In 2014, there were 8,251 deaths from lung cancer in Australia (4,947 males and 3,304 females). In 2017, it is estimated that this will increase to 9,021 deaths (5,179 males and 3,842 females).

In 2014, the age–standardised mortality rate was 31 deaths per 100,000 persons (40 for males and 23 for females). In 2017, it is estimated that the age–standardised mortality rate will be 31 deaths per 100,000 persons (38 for males and 24 for females). The mortality rate of lung cancer will generally increase with age for both males and females (Figure 1).

In 2017, it is estimated that the risk of an individual dying from lung cancer by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 23 (1 in 18 males and 1 in 29 females).

The number of deaths from lung cancer increased from 2,883 (2,509 males and 374 females) in 1968 to 8,251 in 2014. Over the same period, the age–standardised mortality rate increased from 32 deaths per 100,000 persons (62 for males and 7.8 for females) in 1968 to a high of 43 per 100,000 (74 for males and 20 for females) in 1989 before decreasing to 31 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2014. This decrease in mortality has largely been seen in males. While age–standardised rates for lung cancer in females has been lower than that in males, the age–standardised rate has increased to 23 per 100,000 females in 2014 (Figure 2).

Table 2: Estimated most common cancers deaths in 2017
Cancer type Number of deaths 2017 % of all cancer deaths 2017
Lung 9,021 18.9
Colorectal (bowel) 4,114 8.6
Prostate (among males) 3,452 12.7
Breast 3,114 6.5
Breast (among females) 3,087 14.9
Pancreatic 2,915 6.1

Figure 1: Estimated age-specific incidence and mortality rates for lung cancer, by sex, 2017

bar graph showing the estimated number of new cases of lung cancer diagnosed in 2016, by five year age groups (0-4 to 85+). The age-specific incidence rate for each five year age group is expressed as the estimated number of new cases of lung cancer diagnosed per 100,000 persons, which is presented on the y-axis. The estimated incidence rate of lung cancer generally increases across the age groups, with persons aged 0-4 years having an estimated diagnosis rate of 0.1 cases per 100,000, while persons aged 85+ have an estimated diagnosis rate of 308.7 cases per 100,000.

Source: AIHW [1].

Figure 2: Age-standardised incidence rates for lung cancer 1982–2013 and age-standardised mortality rates for lung cancer 1968–2014, by sex

line graph with two lines showing actual incidence and mortality rates for lung cancer. One line of the graph shows actual incidence rates for lung cancer from 1982 to 2012. The other line shows actual mortality rates for lung cancer from 1968 to 2013. The age-standardised incidence and mortality rate for each year is expressed as the number of new cases or number of deaths per 100,000 persons and presented on the y-axis. The incidence rate for lung cancer decreased from 47.1 cases per 100,000 persons in 1982 to 43.0 cases per 100,000 persons in 2012. The mortality rate for lung cancer increased from 31.5 deaths per 100,000 in 1968 to 42.9 deaths per 100,000 in 1989 before decreasing to 31.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2013.

Source: AIHW [2].

Survival from lung cancer

In 2009–2013, individuals diagnosed with lung cancer had a 16% chance (14% for males and 19% for females) of surviving for 5 years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population.

Between 1984–1988 and 2009–2013, 5-year relative survival from lung cancer improved from 9% to 16%.

Figure 3: 5-year relative survival from lung cancer, 1984–1988 to 2009–2013

bar chart showing five year relative survival from lung cancer in five year periods, starting from 1983-1987 and ending in 2008-2012. The percentage of survival is presented on the y-axis. In 1983-1987, 5 year relative survival was 8.9%. This increased to 15.0% in 2008-2012.

Source: AIHW [1].

Survivorship population for lung cancer

The survivorship population is measured using prevalence data. Prevalence refers to the number of people alive who have previously been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The prevalence for 1, 5 and 31 years given below are the number of people living with lung cancer at the end of 2012 who had been diagnosed in the preceding 1, 5 and 31 years respectively.

At the end of 2012, there were 6,951 people living who had been diagnosed with lung cancer that year, 15,924 people who had been diagnosed with lung cancer in the previous 5 years (from 2008 to 2012) and 25,381 people who had been diagnosed with lung cancer in the previous 31 years (from 1982 to 2012).


Data notes

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD–10)

Cancer is classified by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD–10). This is a statistical classification, published by the World Health Organization, in which each morbid condition is assigned a unique code according to established criteria.

Estimations

Future estimations for incidence and mortality are a mathematical extrapolation of past trends. They assume that the most recent trends will continue into the future, and are intended to illustrate future changes that might reasonably be expected to occur if the stated assumptions continue to apply over the estimated period. Actual future cancer incidence and mortality rates may vary from these estimations. For instance, new screening programs may increase the detection of new cancer cases; new vaccination programs may decrease the risk of developing cancer; and improvements in treatment options may decrease mortality rates.

Incidence

Cancer incidence indicates the number of new cancers diagnosed during a specified time period (usually one year).

The 2013 national incidence counts include estimates for NSW because the actual data were not available. Note that actual data for the Australian Capital Territory do not include cases identified from death certificates.

The 2017 estimates are based on 2004–13 incidence data. Due to rounding of these estimates, male and female incidence may not sum to person incidence.

Mortality

Cancer mortality refers to the number of deaths occurring during a specified time period (usually one year) for which the underlying cause of death is cancer.
The 2017 estimates are based on mortality data up to 2013. Joinpoint analysis was used on the longest time series of age–standardised rates available to determine the starting year of the most recent trend.

Prevalence

Prevalence of cancer refers to the number of people alive with a prior diagnosis of cancer at a given time. It is distinct from incidence, which is the number of new cancers diagnosed within a given period of time. The longest period for which it is possible to calculate prevalence using the available national data (from 1982 to 2012) is currently 31 years so this is used to provide an estimate of the ‘total’ prevalence of cancer as at the end of 2012, noting that people diagnosed with cancer before 1982 aren’t included.

Age standardised rates

Incidence and mortality rates expressed per 100,000 population are age–standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.


References

  1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017. Australian Cancer Incidence and Mortality (ACIM) books: Lung cancer. Canberra: AIHW. www.aihw.gov.au/acim–books [Accessed February 2017].
  2. AIHW 2017. Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer series no. 101. Cat. No. CAN 100. Canberra: AIHW.