Skip to content

Cancer incidence

In 2017, a total of 10,514 South Australians were diagnosed with cancer.

For South Australian males, the most commonly diagnosed cancers in 2017 were prostate cancer (accounting for 28.5 per cent of all male cancers), colorectal cancer (10.6 per cent), and lung cancer (9.1 per cent). The most common cancers for South Australian females in 2016 were breast cancer (29.2 per cent), colorectal cancer (12 per cent), and lung cancer (9.8 per cent).

Over half (62.7 per cent) of cancers diagnosed in 2017 were in South Australians aged over 65 years.

Between 2013 and 2017, male incidence rates in South Australia decreased by 2.0 per cent per annum, while female incidence rates remained steady during this period.


Cancer Deaths

In 2017, 3713 South Australians died from cancer, an average of 10 South Australians each day.

Lung cancer (19.8%) and colorectal cancer (11.0 per cent) were the leading causes of cancer deaths in South Australia.

Between 2013 and 2017 mortality rates in males have shown a decrease of 1.8 per cent per annum, while female rates have decreased by 1.2 per cent.


Aboriginal Australian statistics

Cancer incidence, mortality and burden are all significantly higher in Aboriginal Australians compared to non-Aboriginal Australians. In 2014, cancer was the cause of one in every five deaths of Aboriginal Australians.

Aboriginal Australians are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with any type of cancer and have a five-year survival rate that is 14 per cent lower, at just 44 per cent. Lung cancer is ranked first both in terms of incidence and mortality in Aboriginal Australians. In fact, the mortality rate is 1.8 times higher than in non-Aboriginal Australians and is the cause of 134 deaths every year.
Cancer Council SA is developing an ongoing series of programs and projects, designed to address and minimise these disparities so that everyone has the opportunity to live a life without, or beyond cancer. These programs provide culturally appropriate avenues for accessing support services and prevention programs, informed by the latest data available.
Specifically, they enable you to connect with others to gain emotional and practical support, to lower your risk of developing cancer in the first place, to participate in screening and early detection, and to reach out to further support services as you need them.

Australian Cancer Atlas unpacks cancer burden by locality

Australians can now discover the impact of cancer in their suburb or town, with the launch of a new cutting-edge Australian Cancer Atlas.

The interactive digital cancer atlas shows national patterns in cancer incidence and survival rates based on where people live for 20 of the most common cancers in Australia – such as lung, breast and bowel cancer – likely reflecting the characteristics, lifestyles and access to health services in the area.

This world-leading project, led by researchers from Cancer Council Queensland, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and FrontierSI, will give health agencies and policy makers a better understanding of geographic disparities and health requirements across the country.


Visit the Australian Cancer Atlas for more information.

Learn more

South Australian Cancer Registry (2020): Cancer in South Australia 2017 – with projections to 2020. Adelaide: South Australian Cancer Registry, Prevention and Population Health Directorate, Wellbeing SA, Government of South Australia.

Links to national and international cancer statistics: 

South Australian cancer statistics from the SA department of health
Australian cancer statistics from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
International cancer statistics from the International Agency for Research on Cancer