Cancer incidence in Australia is projected to rise due to an expected increase in both the underlying cancer rates and in the Australian population over the age of 65. As a result, planning for cancer treatment services must anticipate future trends and age structures.

This report presents projections of the number of new cases of cancer (all cancers combined) diagnosed in Australia from 2014 to 2024, by state and territory health planning regions.

Projections of the number of new cancer cases for each health planning region have been calculated using trends in cancer incidence from 1997 to 2010—the latter being the most recent year for which national cancer incidence data are available—and population projections provided by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Key findings

In 2024, an estimated 169,648 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in Australia, an average annual increase of 3.3% per year from 2010 (Table 2.1).

The proportional increase is expected to vary between states and territories. The largest increase is expected in Western Australia (5.0% per year), followed by the Australian Capital Territory (4.4%), Queensland (4.2%), the Northern Territory (3.9%) and Victoria (3.2%). New South Wales (2.5% per year), Tasmania (2.3%) and South Australia (1.9%) are expected to have the smallest annual proportional increases in cancer incidence rates.

Important notes

Projections are, by nature, estimates at best and are subject to a number of limitations and assumptions. The combined impact of these is such that the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) presents these projections only as approximate statistical extrapolations of the period 1997 to 2010 as a means to illustrate future changes that would occur if the stated assumptions were to apply over the projection interval. The AIHW can offer no guarantees as to the true predictive value of these estimates out to 2024.

These estimates were developed for the Australian Government Department of Health for their planning purposes. The methods used to derive projected cancer incidence counts for this report were developed so as to be consistent and comparable across all jurisdictional health planning regions. 

The projection methodology does not take into account variations in historical incidence at the health planning region level. The resulting incidence projections also do not account for the future use of radiation oncology services by residents of other states, territories or health planning regions. For further information see the 'Limitations and assumptions' section in Chapter 1.

The projected estimates presented in this report may differ from those published by the states and territories, due to differences in the underlying methodologies. In particular, state and territory cancer registries have access to additional information that could lead their projections to be more accurate at the jurisdictional level. 

Consumers are advised to exercise caution and consider the methodology when applying these estimates to other purposes. 

The state and territory cancer registries have given approval to publish these data.