3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2012 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/03/2014   
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In 2012, Neoplasms (C00-D48) was the underlying cause of 43,505 registered deaths in Australia. This accounted for 29.6% of all registered deaths. The ratio of male (24,562) to female (18,943) deaths in 2012 was 130 males per 100 females. The median age of persons who died from Malignant cancers (C00-C97) has increased from 74.1 years in 2003 to 75.3 years in 2012. Deaths due to malignant cancers accounted for 42,457 deaths or 97.6% of all cancers in 2012.

Cancers of the digestive organs (C15-C26) accounted for 12,032 deaths. Of these, Pancreatic cancer (C25) constituted the largest number of deaths with 2,524 deaths. There was a small difference between the number of males (1,331) and females (1,193) who died from pancreatic cancer; however, the median age of males who died of pancreatic cancer (72.9) was lower than for females (76.7) who died of the same cause.

Colon cancer (C18) was the second highest contributor to deaths from cancers of the digestive organs, accounting for 1,962 deaths. The median age at death for people who died of colon cancer was 76.5 years for males and 80.1 years for females.

There were 8,433 deaths attributed to Cancers of the respiratory system and chest (C30-C39), accounting for 19.9% of all malignant cancers. Of these 8,433 deaths, nearly all (96.4%) had an underlying cause of Lung cancer (C34), which accounted for 8,129 deaths. The male to female ratio of lung cancer deaths has changed from 183 male deaths per 100 females in 2003 to 150 male deaths per 100 females in 2012. Since 2003 the number of female deaths from this cause has increased by 789 while the number of male deaths has increased by 368. Males whose underlying cause of death was lung cancer, had a marginally higher median age at death (73.9 years) than females (73.2 years) with the same underlying cause.

Prostate cancer (C61) was the underlying cause of 4.1% of all male deaths registered in 2012. Male deaths from this underlying cause have increased slightly from 2,842 in 2003 to 3,079 in 2012. The median age at death for prostate cancer has steadily increased from 79.7 years in 2003 to 82.1 years in 2012. The current median age at death for prostate cancer is higher than the median age for all deaths (81.7 years).

In females, deaths due to Breast cancer (C50) have risen from 2,713 in 2003 to 2,795 in 2012. The female median age at death due to breast cancer was 69.4 years, 15.2 years lower than the median age for all female deaths (84.6 years).