3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 1996  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/10/1997   
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Deaths from diabetes and senile dementia increase

More Australians are dying from diabetes and senile dementia, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Deaths from diabetes mellitus numbered 2,991 in 1996 and was the sixth leading cause of death, up from 7th in 1995. The 2,755 deaths from senile and presenile organic conditions, lifted this from 10th leading cause in 1995 to the eighth leading cause in 1996.

The ABS, in its publication Causes of Death Australia (cat. no 3303.0), reports that there were 128,711 deaths registered in Australia in 1996, up 2.9 per cent on the 1995 figure. Half of these deaths were due to cancer (27 per cent of total) and Ischaemic heart disease (23 per cent of total).

Other highlights of the data include:
  • In 1996, the major cancer deaths in males were cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lung (24 per cent of total male cancer deaths), prostate cancer (14 per cent ) and colon cancer (9.5 per cent ). For females breast cancer accounted for 17 per cent of total female cancer deaths, while cancer of the trachea, bronchus and lung (14 per cent ) and colon cancer (11 per cent) were the other leading cancers.
  • Between 1982 and 1996 the number of deaths from prostate cancer has nearly doubled, from 1,356 in 1982 to 2,660 in 1996. The increase in the age standardised death rate (deaths per 100,000 of population) during this period was 19 per cent.
  • In 1996 the number of AIDS related deaths decreased for the second consecutive year. There were 568 AIDS related deaths registered in 1996, a decrease on the 666 deaths registered in 1995 and 26 per cent lower than the 764 deaths recorded in 1994. Males comprised 96 per cent of total AIDS related deaths in 1996.
  • Over the last ten years the number of deaths from accidents decreased from 5,384 in 1987 to 4,696 in 1996 which was a 26 per cent decrease in the standardised death rate for all accidents. There was a 37 per cent fall in the death rate for motor vehicle traffic accidents and a 18 per cent decrease in the rate for accidental falls during this period. The number of deaths from suicide rose from 2,240 in 1987 to 2,393 in 1996. However, this reflected a decrease of 6 per cent in the standardised rate for this cause of death.
  • The number and standardised rate for deaths caused by firearms in 1996 increased on those recorded for 1995. However, there has been a significant decrease in both the number and standardised rate for firearm deaths over the last ten years of 27 and 36 per cent respectively.
  • Perinatal deaths (stillbirths and deaths of children within 28 days of birth) rose for the second consecutive year, from 2,094 in 1995 to 2,170 in 1996.