Cancer in Sydney 2018 data projections

We have mapped projected 2018 incidence rates* for four of the most commonly diagnosed cancers across Sydney.

While prostate cancer is one of the five most commonly diagnosed cancers in NSW, projections for small geographical areas are not possible due to changing patterns of PSA testing.

Bowel cancer

Sydney areas with the highest and lowest incidence rates for bowel cancer.

Sydney areas with the highest and lowest incidence rates for bowel cancer.

Highest incidence
Lowest incidence

1. Hawkesbury
2. Penrith
3. Bayside
4. Georges River
5. Camden

1. Woollahra
2. Mosman
3. Hunters Hill
4. Burwood
5. Blue Mountains

Rates in the Sydney area that are high are similar to the overall NSW bowel cancer incidence rate.

While the biggest risk factor for bowel cancer is age, lifestyle factors also raise a person’s risk.

Risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • high alcohol consumption
  • being overweight or obese
  • high consumption of red and processed meats.

Bowel cancer screening can detect pre-cancerous lesions, which can be treated before cancer develops. Screening has the capacity to significantly reduce bowel cancer incidence rates.

Breast cancer

Sydney areas with the highest and lowest incidence rates for breast cancer.

3,295 women in Sydney are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. 57% of the breast cancer cases this year will be diagnosed in Sydney.

Sydney areas with the highest and lowest incidence rates for breast cancer.

Highest incidence
Lowest incidence

1. Mosman
2. Woollahra
3. Lane Cove
4. Hunters Hill
5. Ku-Ring-Gai

1. Strathfield
2. Burwood
3. Fairfield
4. Liverpool
5. Blacktown

Some of the major risk factors for breast cancer, aside from family history, include:

  • high maternal age (35+)
  • early onset of menstruation
  • late menopause
  • age.

Some of the modifiable risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • overweight and obesity
  • physical inactivity
  • smoking
  • alcohol intake.

Breast cancer occurs more frequently among women who live in more affluent areas. 

Women can improve their breast cancer outcomes by being breast aware and screening regularly between the ages of 50 and 74.

Lung cancer

Sydney areas with the highest and lowest incidence rates for lung cancer.

Sydney areas with the highest and lowest incidence rates for lung cancer.

Highest incidence
Lowest incidence

1. Campbelltown
2. Penrith
3. Blacktown
4. Liverpool
5. Bayside

1. Ku-Ring-Gai
2. Lane Cove
3. Hunters Hill
4. The Hills Shire
5. Hornsby

Note that Blacktown and Liverpool have the same projected lung cancer rate.

Smoking is responsible for 90% of lung cancers in men and two thirds of cancers in women.

This strong link with smoking is reflected in the varying rates across Sydney.

Lung cancer is declining in men but still rising in women. This is due to the later peak in smoking rates among women.

For support to quit smoking, visit iCanQuit or call the NSW Quitline on 13 7848.

It is important to remember lung cancer is not just caused by smoking, and everyone should be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. The chance of surviving lung cancer is best when the cancer is found early.

Melanoma

Sydney areas with the highest and lowest incidence rates for melanoma.

Melanoma rates are highest in coastal areas, with only 45% of diagnoses in NSW this year expected in the Sydney area.

Sydney areas with the highest and lowest incidence rates for melanoma.

Highest incidence
Lowest incidence

1. Sutherland Shire
2. Mosman
3. Wollondilly
4. Hawkesbury
5. Northern Beaches

1. Strathfield
2. Fairfield
3. Burwood
4. Cumberland
5. Canterbury-Bankstown

Melanoma is almost entirely preventable, with up to 95% of melanomas caused by UV exposure.

2,200 people in Sydney will be diagnosed with melanoma this year.

Melanoma can be deadly, so prevention is very important. A melanoma of less than 1mm in depth able to enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart, lungs, brain and bones.

Preventative actions you can take

The best ways to reduce your cancer risk are:

Plus find out more about why screening and early detection is so important.

*Users are advised that cancer incidence projections are not precise predictions of the future.   

The projections to 2018 are based on the following assumptions:             

  1. Population projections are based on assumptions of fertility, mortality and migration based on historical trends.
  2. The trends in age-sex-cancer specific incidence and mortality rate are homogeneous across NSW.
  3. The age effect of cancer rate will remain stable.
  4. Past trends used to develop the model will continue to 2018.

Please note that the accuracy of the projections is also impacted by a range of factors including:              

  1. The accuracy of the Department of Planning and Environment 2016 Final Population projections.
  2. Variability in five year age specific rates over time by age, sex and cancer type, especially for cancers with small numbers.
  3. The accuracy of projections decline in certainty over time i.e. projections for 2014 are likely to be more accurate than projections for 2018.
  4. Changes in risk factors and early detection methods.

Notes: 

  • Cancer incidence projections are a mathematical extrapolation of past trends. They assume that the most recent trend will continue into the future.
  • The accuracy of the projections is impacted by a range of factors including changes in risk factors and early detection methods and the accuracy of projected population sizes.
  • The number of cancer cases for areas with a small number (<10) of projected cancer cases have been suppressed.
  • Due to differences in population sizes between local government areas, areas with the highest rates of cancer may not be those with the largest number of people diagnosed. Areas with larger populations can have a larger cancer burden.
  • These data should be interpreted alongside other relevant sources of information such as historical cancer rates and risk factor prevalence data.
  • The LGA rankings depend on the measure of incidence rate used (age-standardised rate or standardised incidence ratio). For this reason, and due to the factors in the two points above, the rankings of areas are provided for illustrative purposes only.