true
Incidence and Mortality 

An estimated 1970 people are diagnosed with brain cancer each year in Australia and roughly 1550 die from the disease. 


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Cancer in Australia 2019. Cancer series no.119. Cat. no. CAN 123. Canberra: AIHW. 

 

Brain cancer affects 6.9 people per 100,000 in Australia. 


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2018 Cancer Data in Australia; Canberra: AIHW. <https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia/>. 

 

Brain cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease and more people under 40 than any other cancer. 


Causes of Death, Australia, 2018. Australian Bureau of Statistics 

 

Brain cancer causes more deaths for people under 40 than any other cancer and accounts for more than 1 in 3 of the 56 cancer-related male deaths for these ages (see figure below). 


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Cancer in Australia 2019. Cancer series no.119. Cat. no. CAN 123. Canberra: AIHW. 

 

Survival Rates

Only 2/10 people diagnosed with brain cancer survive for at least five years from diagnosis. 


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2018 Cancer Data in Australia; Canberra: AIHW. <https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia/>. 

 

Brain cancer survival rates are low and have barely improved in more than 30 years, despite significant increases in survival for Australians diagnosed with other types of cancer, such as prostate and breast cancer. For example, the five-year survival rate of prostate cancer has increased from 60% to more than 90%, while breast cancer survival has gone from 72% to more than 90%.  


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2018 Cancer Data in Australia; Canberra: AIHW. <https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-data-in-australia/>. 

 

Costs and Funding

Brain cancer costs more per person than any other cancer, yet only receives a small fraction of federal government cancer research funding.   

Brain cancer costs more per person than any other cancer because it’s highly debilitating, affects people in their prime, and often means family members can’t work if they become carers. 

Brain cancer is the cancer with the highest total burden of disease - $90.7 million, or $1.7 million per person. 

For those aged 35 - 44 years, brain cancer accounts for the highest proportion of cancer expenditure, totalling $32 million. 

 

Important Notes

These statistics are averages, and each person’s chance of survival and recovery depends on many factors, including the size of the tumour, wherein the brain it’s located, and other features of the tumour that affect how quickly it will grow and how well the treatment works. This often makes it difficult to estimate each person's chance of survival. 

The 22% brain cancer survival statistic is an estimate. It’s based on annual data, as generated by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Experts also measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So, the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 5 years. Talk with a health professional if you have any questions about this information. 

There are no known predictors of how long someone with brain cancer will survive. The type of diagnosis may play an important role, however, there are many examples of people with brain cancer living long and normal lives. Every patient is different. So, while statistics play a valuable role, they don’t determine how long an individual person will survive, or the quality of life they’ll have. 

back-to-top