3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2006 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/03/2008   
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March 14, 2008
Embargoed: 11.30 am (AEDT)
Nearly two thirds of Australians die from heart disease or cancer

The leading underlying cause of death for all Australians was Ischaemic heart diseases, contributing to 18% of all male deaths and 17% for all female deaths registered in 2006, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Ischaemic heart diseases (includes angina, blocked arteries of the heart and heart attacks) have been the leading cause of death in Australia over the last 10 years, however the proportion of deaths attributed to Ischaemic heart diseases has declined from 23%% in 1997 to 17% in 2006.

Cardiovascular disease was responsible for the deaths of 45,670 Australians in 2006. It includes diseases such as angina, blocked arteries of the heart and brain, heart attack, heart failure, aneurysms, heart valve disorders, hypertension, haemorrhages and strokes and represents 34% of the 133,739 deaths registered in Australia in 2006 (down from 41% in 1997).
Cancer was the underlying cause of death for 39,753 registered deaths in Australia. This is a 12% increase since 1997, when 35,363 people died from cancer. In 2006, Cancer accounted for 30% of all registered deaths compared with 27% in 1997. Lung cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer deaths, with 7,348 Australians dying of the disease in 2006.

Prostate cancer was the underlying cause of 4.3% of all male deaths, with 2,952 deaths registered in 2006. The median age at death for prostate cancer is 80.4 years. Breast cancer was the underlying cause of all female deaths with 2,643 (4%) women dying of this disease in 2006. The female median age at death for breast cancer is 68.3 years, which is 14.9 years lower than the median age for all female deaths (83.3 years).
Deaths due to Dementia and Alzheimer's disease have risen by 99% since 1997. Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease is Australia's 4th leading cause of death (up from 8th in 1997) with 6,543 deaths registered in 2006.

More details are available in Causes of Death, Australia (cat. no. 3303.0) which is available free of charge when downloaded from the ABS website on <www.abs.gov.au>.

FURTHER INFORMATION:Media requests and interviews
Ilona Fraser (02) 6252 7480; 0418 202 580
Statistical contact:
Michaela McGuigan (07) 3222 6288
Jon Williams (07) 3222 6321