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The preceding section presents data based on the international standard of ranking leading causes of death described by the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2013, neoplasms accounted for four of the top 10 leading causes of death of both males and females in Australia. Two of these causes, breast cancer (C50) and prostate cancer (C61), are discussed further below.
Breast cancer was the sixth leading cause of death of Australian females in 2013, accounting for 2,862 deaths at a standardised death rate of 20.4 per 100,000. The number of deaths from breast cancer has risen slightly over the past decade, from 2,641 in 2004, when it was the fourth leading cause of death in females.
Prostate cancer was the sixth leading cause of death in males in 2013, accounting for 3,112 deaths at a standardised death rate of 26.7 per 100,000. The number of deaths from prostate cancer has also increase since 2004, when it caused 2,761 deaths, and was the fifth leading cause of death in males.
Despite the similarities in death count, breast cancer accounted for significantly more years of potential life lost in females in 2013, compared to years of life lost from prostate cancer in males (31,017 and 8,124 respectively). This difference can be attributed to the fact that women who died from breast cancer in 2013 had a lower age at death than men who died from prostate cancer (median age of 69.8 and 82.4, respectively). This highlights the importance of considering a variety of different measures when interpreting mortality data, rather than relying solely on counts of deaths.
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