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Lung cancer factsheet


Background on lung cancer

Excellent information on lung cancer is available from Cancer Council Victoria at:
https://www.cancervic.org.au/cancer-information/types-of-cancer

Here you will find information about the disease, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Cancer Council Victoria also offers cancer support services for Victorians affected by cancer. You can find this information at:
https://www.cancervic.org.au/get-support/cancer-services-guide or phone 13 11 20.

What is lung cancer?

The statistics provided in this report only includes patients diagnosed with primary lung cancer. Primary lung cancer refers to those lung cancers which are believed to have started in the lung. When cancer starts in another area of the body and spreads to the lung, it is referred to as secondary or metastatic cancer in the lung.

How common is lung cancer?

In 2019, 3156 Victorians were diagnosed with bowel cancer. Of these, there were 1720 males and 1436 females, representing 54.5% and 45.5% of the total Victorian bowel cancer diagnoses, respectively. The median age at diagnosis of bowel cancer is 71 years in males and 71 in females (Figure 1 & 2). Accounting for 8.8% of all cancers diagnosed and 18.6% of all cancer-related deaths in 2019, bowel cancer was the 4th most commonly diagnosed cancer and the 1st most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Victoria.


Figure 1: Distribution of lung cancer incidence in 2019, by sex within age groups

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2021)


Figure 2: Distribution of lung cancer incidence in 2019 compared to the distribution of the Victorian population in 2019, by 5-year age brackets

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2021)

Lung cancer morphology

Figure 4 provides a summary of the different types of cells (morphology) which have caused lung cancer. Most lung tumours, 42.5%, present as Adenocarcinoma tumours.


Figure 4: Distribution of lung cancer cancer morphologies between 2010-2019

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2021)

Geographical variance in lung cancer by local government area

Figure 5 demonstrates variation in age-standardised incidence rates of lung cancer by local government areas. Darker shading indicates areas with higher rates of lung cancer.


Figure 5: Distribution of lung cancer incidence in 2019, by location of residence in Victoria

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2021)

Lung cancer in people born overseas

Figure 6 shows the age standardised incidence rates of lung cancer in Australian-born Victorians compared to other major migrant groups, over the five-year period 2015 to 2019. The highest age standardised incidence rate for lung cancer was 29.9 for males born in the Southern Europe region and the lowest rate of 10.3 was observed in males born in the Southern and Central Asia region. The highest age standardised incidence rate for lung cancer was 21 for females born in the UK and Ireland region and the lowest rate of 9.3 was observed in females born in the Southern and Central Asia region.


Figure 6: Age standardised incidence rates and 95% confidence intervals for lung cancer in Australia compared to other countries for the period 2015 - 2019, by sex

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2021)


Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2021)



Lung cancer five-year relative survival

Figure 7 demonstrates that five-year relative survival has increased for lung cancer between 1989-1993 and 2014-2018 from 8% to 22%.

Figure 7: Trend in five year relative survival following diagnosis of lung cancer in five year brackets, from the period 1989-1993 to 2014-2018

Source: Victorian Cancer Registry (2021)