In 2011, Neoplasms (C00-D48) was the underlying cause of 43,721 registered deaths in Australia. This accounted for 29.8% of all registered deaths. The ratio of male (24,741) to female (18,980) deaths in 2011 was 130 males per 100 females. The median age of persons who died from Malignant cancers (C00-C97) has increased from 74.0 years in 2002 to 75.2 years in 2011. Deaths due to malignant cancers accounted for 42,671 deaths or 97.6% of all cancers in 2011.
Cancers of the digestive organs (C15-C26) accounted for 11,903 deaths. Of these, Pancreatic cancer (C25) constituted the largest number of deaths with 2,416 deaths. There was a small difference between the number of males (1,218) and females (1,198) who died from pancreatic cancer; however, the median age of males who died of pancreatic cancer (72.0) was lower than for females (77.2) who died of the same cause.
Colon cancer (C18) was the second highest contributor to deaths from cancers of the digestive organs, accounting for 2,077 deaths. The median age at death for people who died of colon cancer was 75.6 years for males and 81.0 years for females, with the largest number of deaths occurring between 70 and 84 years of age for both males and females.
There were 8,405 deaths attributed to Cancers of the respiratory system and chest (C30-C39), accounting for 19.7% of all malignant cancers. Lung cancer (C34) was the underlying cause of 8,108 (96.5%) deaths due to cancers of the respiratory system and chest. The male to female ratio of lung cancer deaths has changed from 187 male deaths per 100 females in 2002 to 157 male deaths per 100 females in 2011. Since 2002 the number of female deaths from this cause has increased by 611 while the number of male deaths has increased by 198. Males whose underlying cause of death was lung cancer, had a marginally higher median age at death (73.4 years) than females (72.9 years) with the same underlying cause.
Prostate cancer (C61) was the underlying cause of 4.4% of all male deaths registered in 2011. Male deaths from this underlying cause have increased gradually from 2,852 in 2002 to 3,294 in 2011. The median age at death for prostate cancer has steadily increased from 79.4 years in 2002 to 81.8 years in 2011. The current median age at death for prostate cancer is close to the median age for all deaths (81.5 years).
In females, deaths due to Breast cancer (C50) have risen from 2,698 in 2002 to 2,914 in 2011. The female median age at death due to breast cancer was 69.7 years, 14.8 years lower than the median age for all female deaths (84.5 years).