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3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2007 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/03/2009   
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Contents >> Leading Causes of Death >> Leading Causes of Death

LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH

Ranking causes of death is a useful method of describing patterns of mortality in a population and allows comparison over time and between populations. However, different methods of grouping causes of death can result in a vastly different list of leading causes for any given population. The ranking of leading causes of death in this publication are based on research presented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, Volume 84, Number 4, April 2006, 257-336 (see Explanatory Notes 43-45 for further information).

In 2007, the leading underlying cause of death for all Australians was Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25), which include angina, blocked arteries of the heart and heart attacks. Ischaemic heart diseases were identified as the underlying cause of 22,729 deaths, 16% of all deaths registered in 2007. While Ischaemic heart diseases have been the leading cause of death in Australia over the past 10 years, the number of deaths due to this cause has decreased, from 28,299 in 1998 to 22,729 in 2007. Similarly, the proportion of deaths where Ischaemic heart diseases were the underlying cause has declined from 22% of all deaths in 1998 to 16% in 2007.

Strokes (I60-I69) have remained the second leading underlying cause of death in 2007. Strokes include haemorrhages, strokes, infarctions and blocked arteries of the brain. Deaths due to this cause have decreased marginally over the last 10 years, from 12,271 deaths in 1998 to 11,491 deaths in 2007. This represents a decrease of 6.4% over that period. The proportion of deaths attributed to Strokes has also decreased over the last 10 years, from 9.6% of deaths in 1998 to 8.3% of deaths in 2007.

Trachea and lung cancer (C33-C34) remains the third leading cause of death since 1998. Deaths due to this cause have increased in number over this time, from 6,742 in 1998 to 7,626 in 2007. This represents an increase of 13%. The proportion of deaths attributed to this cause has also increased marginally, from 5.3% in 1998 to 5.5% in 2007.

Deaths due to Dementia and Alzheimer's disease (F01-F03, G30) have moved from seventh leading cause in 1998 to fourth leading cause in 2007. The number of deaths due to this cause has increased 126% from 3,244 in 1998 to 7,320 in 2007. This is largely due to an increase in deaths due to Dementia (F01-F03), which increased from 1,777 in 1998 to 5,048 in 2007. See Explanatory Note 67 for further information.

The top 10 leading causes of death accounted for 53% of all deaths registered in 2007, and the top 20 leading causes accounted for 67%.

2.1 LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH(a), Australia - Selected years - 1998-2007

1998
2002
2007(b)
Cause of death and ICD code
no.
Rank
no.
Rank
no.
Rank

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)
28 299
1
26 063
1
22 729
1
Strokes (I60-I69)
12 271
2
12 533
2
11 491
2
Trachea and lung cancer (C33-C34)
6 742
3
7 303
3
7 626
3
Dementia and Alzheimer's disease (F01-F03, G30)
3 244
7
4 364
6
7 320
4
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
6 134
4
6 256
4
5 762
5
Colon and rectum cancer (C18-C21)
4 640
5
4 649
5
4 107
6
Diabetes (E10-E14)
2 877
9
3 329
9
3 810
7
Blood and lymph cancer (including leukaemia) (C81-C96)
3 527
6
3 791
7
3 603
8
Heart failure (I50-I51)
3 234
8
3 367
8
3 444
9
Diseases of the kidney and urinary system (N00-N39)
2 618
11
2 887
11
3 230
10
Prostate cancer (C61)
2 556
13
2 852
12
2 938
11
Breast cancer (C50)
2 576
12
2 716
13
2 706
12
Influenza and pneumonia (J10-J18)
2 023
14
3 084
10
2 623
13
Pancreatic cancer (C25)
1 610
16
1 834
15
2 248
14
Suicide (X60-X84)(c)
2 683
10
2 320
14
1 880
15
Skin cancer (C43-C44)
1 317
18
1 462
17
1 727
16
Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15)
1 209
20
1 353
20
1 627
17
Cirrhosis and other diseases of liver (K70-K77)
1 245
19
1 354
19
1 437
18
Cardiac arrhythmias (I47-I49)
878
25
1 226
21
1 397
19
Land transport accidents (V01-V89)(d)
1 884
15
1 826
16
1 273
20

(a) Causes listed are the leading causes of death for all deaths registered in 2007 based on the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. See Explanatory Notes 43-45 for further information.
(b) Cause of death data for 2007 is subject to revision. See Explanatory Notes 3-4 for further information.
(c) Excludes sequelae of suicide (Y87.0) as per the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide due to limitations in the data. For further information, see Explanatory Notes 77-78 and Technical Note: ABS coding of suicide deaths for further information.
(d) Excludes sequelae of transport accidents (Y85) as per the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to transport accidents for 2007. For further information, see Explanatory Notes 73-74.



Leading causes of death by gender

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25) were the leading cause of death for both males and females in 2007, with 12,119 and 10,610 deaths respectively. This reflects a sex ratio of 114 male deaths per 100 female deaths.

The leading causes of death vary between the sexes, in part due to the incidence of gender specific causes, such as prostate or ovarian cancer. However, other causes which may not be gender-specific also showed variance between the sexes.

Examples of these included:

  • Strokes, for which there were 65 male deaths for every 100 female deaths;
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases, for which there were 122 male deaths for every 100 female deaths; and
  • Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, for which there were 49 male deaths for every 100 female deaths.

Those causes where a high proportion of deaths were males included:
  • Ischaemic heart disease - 53%
  • Trachea and lung cancer - 62%
  • Suicide - 77%
  • Blood and lymph cancer (including leukaemia) (C81-C96) - 57%
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases - 55%

2.2 LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH(a), Males - 2007(b)

Underlying Cause of Death
Rank
Males
Total

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)
1
12 119
22 729
Trachea and lung cancer (C33-C34)
2
4 715
7 626
Strokes (I60-I69)
3
4 516
11 491
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
4
3 169
5 762
Prostate cancer (C61)
5
2 938
2 938
Dementia and Alzheimer's disease (F01-F03, G30)
6
2 415
7 320
Colon and rectum cancer (C18-C21)
7
2 221
4 107
Blood and lymph cancer (including leukaemia) (C81-C96)
8
2 067
3 603
Diabetes (E10-E14)
9
1 923
3 810
Suicide (X60-X84)(c)
10
1 453
1 880

(a) Causes listed are the leading causes of death for male deaths registered in 2007 based on the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. See Explanatory Notes 43-45 for further information.
(b) Cause of death data for 2007 is subject to revision. See Explanatory Notes 3-4 for further information.
(c) Excludes sequelae of suicide (Y87.0) as per the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide due to limitations in the data. For further information, see Explanatory Notes 77-78 and Technical Note: ABS coding of suicide deaths for further information.


Those causes where a high proportion of deaths were females included:

  • Strokes (I60-I69) - 61%
  • Dementia and Alzheimer's disease (F01-F03, G30)- 67%
  • Heart failure (I50-I51) - 60%
  • Diseases of the kidney and urinary system (N00-N39) - 55%

2.3 LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH(a), Females - 2007(b)

Underlying Cause of Death
Rank
Females
Total

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)
1
10 610
22 729
Strokes (I60-I69)
2
6 975
11 491
Dementia and Alzheimer's disease (F01-F03, G30)
3
4 905
7 320
Trachea and lung cancer (C33-C34)
4
2 911
7 626
Breast cancer (C50)
5
2 680
2 706
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
6
2 593
5 762
Heart failure (I50-I51)
7
2 083
3 444
Diabetes (E10-E14)
8
1 887
3 810
Colon and rectum cancer (C18-C21)
9
1 886
4 107
Diseases of the kidney and urinary system (N00-N39)
10
1 792
3 230

(a) Causes listed are the leading causes of death for female deaths registered in 2007 based on the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. See Explanatory Notes 43-45 for further information.
(b) Cause of death data for 2007 is subject to revision. See Explanatory Notes 3-4 for further information.



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