Lung Cancer in Australia
In Australia, lung cancer is the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in both men and women, with more than 9,700 new cases diagnosed each year. However, among our indigenous population, it’s the most common cancer in men and the second most common cancer in women.
Tobacco smoking is a major cause of lung cancer with studies showing smoking (or exposure to smoke) causes up to 90 per cent of lung cancers in men and about 65 per cent of lung cancers in women. Environmental factors including occupational exposure to industrial and chemical carcinogens, and indoor and outdoor air pollution also may increase the risk of lung cancer. Other factors are a family history of lung cancer and previous lung cancer disease.
Lung cancer incidence relates strongly to age, increasing sharply after the age of 50 years. (In Australia, only about five per cent of lung cancers are diagnosed in people who are under 50 years of age.) More than 84 per cent of new lung cancers in males and 80 per cent in females are diagnosed in the 60 years plus age group.
The incidence rate has been decreasing in men but increasing in women over the past 30 years. However, men are still almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with lung cancer as women are, with about 6,000 Australian men and 3,750 women diagnosed with lung cancer annually.
The prognosis for lung cancer has improved in Australia. However, lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths in both Australian men and
women. The highest mortality rates are among indigenous Australians, people living in remote areas and those in the lowest socio-economic status areas. Significantly, Australia’s death rate from lung cancer is lower than the rates in North America, Northern Europe and Eastern Asia.
* Based on the 2007 statistics released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
For more information please click on the below links which will direct you to Cancer Australia’s publications.
Lung cancer in Australia: an overview 2011
Report to the Nation – Lung Cancer 2011