Lung cancer still the #1 cause of cancer death

Lung cancer

By Mardi Chapman

7 Feb 2017

A report from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare confirms that lung cancer remains Australia’s leading cause of cancer deaths – with over 9,000 deaths from the disease anticipated in 2017.

The report, Cancer in Australia 2017, said that as well as being the leading cause of cancer deaths, lung cancer was associated with the highest cancer burden.

Even for relatively young women aged 25-49 years, lung cancer was the second most common cause of cancer deaths.

The report found there had been small improvements in survival since the 1980s – with a decrease in the age standardized mortality rate from 42 to 31 per 100,000 between 1982 and 2017.

However it remained lethal for many with a five-year survival of 14% in men and 19% in women – one of the lowest of any cancers.

Lung Foundation Australia CEO Ms Heather Allan said lung cancer caused more deaths than breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers combined, yet widespread negative attitudes and stigma were barriers to improving outcomes.

Related stories: Lung cancer stigma is costing lives 

“Patients with lung cancer delay seeking help or stop treatment early, or may not be referred for special management, and there is little public sympathy or support through volunteering, donations or advocacy for greater awareness and research funding of lung cancer,” she told the limbic.

“The current investment in lung cancer research in Australia is woeful, particularly when we have seen survival rates for other cancers such as breast and prostate improve dramatically in the past 25 year though sustained investment in focused research.”

The Lung Foundation Australia are calling on health professionals and the community to help make lung cancer a government priority by supporting their petition at

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