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The latest information about cancer control in NSW for 2018.

This statewide report presents the latest information about cancer control in NSW. This information is collected and reported each year as a part of the Cancer Institute NSW Reporting for Better Cancer Outcomes (RBCO) Program.

Through the RBCO program, the Institute collects and analyses data from across the state every year. This allows us to see what progress is being made in cancer control. We also share this information with key health organisations so they can identify opportunities for improvement at a local level.

For definitions of key terms throughout this report, please refer to the glossary.

What is cancer control?

Cancer control is about reducing the effect of cancer on individuals, and on the community. It involves working to:

  • reducing the number of people who get cancer
  • increasing the survival of people with cancer
  • improving the quality of life of people with cancer.

How do we do this?

The Cancer Institute NSW works with other government and non-government organisations in these areas of cancer control.

What you will find

  • There continues to be improvements across many areas of cancer control in NSW.
  • The overall key findings from each area are outlined within the relevant section.
  • Each of these areas has been presented with an introduction, key findings, and a series of charts.
  • The charts show information about particular measures that are being used to see changes over time. This will help to identify any differences in results between geographical areas and/or population groups.
  • In many of the charts, results are presented across the 15 local health districts (LHDs), 10 primary health networks (PHNs), two specialty health network and some private hospitals in NSW. LHDs are responsible for providing health services in a wide range of settings, including hospitals.

Cancer in NSW

In 2019, more than 47,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in NSW. More than 15,000 people are expected to die from cancer.1

Total NSW Cancer incidence and mortality


  • Compared with the size of the NSW population, there is some variation in the number of people being diagnosed with, or dying from, cancer between NSW local health districts.
  • In 2015, the five most common cancers diagnosed in NSW were bowel, breast, lung, prostate and melanoma.
  • Cancer survival rates varied for different types of cancer, and are affected by how far the cancer had spread when diagnosed (extent of disease).
  • Survival rates continued to improve for most cancers.

Why are different time periods and dates reported?

Cancer information is collected from many places, so it takes time to review and analyse it. Different pieces of information may be collected over different time periods, or reported at different times. This means that not all of the measures reported here have the same dates.

The information presented is the most recent available for each measure at the time the report was developed.

Why are confidence intervals reported here?

Confidence intervals are included when a small sample is used to represent the overall population, because there is a chance of an error due to this scaling.

In this report, a 95% confidence interval is presented only on charts where a sample of the population is used. This interval can be thought of as a margin of error.

The larger the sample size, the smaller the confidence interval range. The smaller the sample size, the larger the confidence interval range.

Related resources

Aerial view of the public walking

Understand the impact cancer is having on the NSW community.

Mother and children with sun protection at the beach.

Cancer control involves promoting these messages to the community and supporting people to make lifestyle changes. Improvements are taking place in some areas, but there is still work to be done.

Cancer screening programs test large numbers of people (who don’t have any symptoms) for early signs of some cancers. In Australia, there are free screening programs for breast, cervical and bowel cancers.

Cancer care in Australia is some of the best in the world. However, treatments can change rapidly as new research becomes available. Health professionals need the latest evidence, research and information on treatments to ensure the best outcomes for their patients.

Clinical trials are an important way to support the development of new cancer treatments and improve cancer care. Increasing the number of places available in cancer clinical trials in NSW means that individual patients have more treatment choices.

Next section Cancer in NSW, 2018 summary