Proportion of people receiving surgical treatment with curative intent

Why this indicator is important 

Surgery is the key treatment for many types of cancer, including lung, oesophageal and pancreatic cancers. Surgery to remove a cancer is called a resection. It involves removing some or all of the tissue (or organ) where the cancer is located.

The best treatment for someone with cancer depends on many things, including the cancer type, how far it has spread (if at all), and the age and general health of the person.

When surgery is the appropriate treatment of cancer, research shows the percentage of people who receive surgery for their cancer is different across geographical areas and population groups.1-5 

Early access to surgery can improve outcomes for most cancers cancers.1,3-5

Evidence shows people who need complex surgery for certain cancers are better off to have it done at a hospital that performs these procedures more often.1

About this indicator

The graph below show the proportion of people in NSW undergoing surgery for their cancer in 2012-2015 and 2016-2019.

  • In 2016-2019, 19.3% of people with lung cancer residing in NSW underwent major surgery for their cancer.
  • For people with oesophageal cancer, an average of 15.7% had major surgery for their cancer across NSW. For people with pancreatic cancer, an average of 21.3% of people had major surgery.

Annual average resections as a proportion of estimated incidence, by cancer type, by local health district (LHD) of residence, 2012–2015 and 2016–2019

N = Annual average number of people with a first admission for the specified cancer, 2016–2019.


  1. Data source: Admitted Patient, Emergency Department Attendance and Deaths Register (APEDDR).
  2. Resection rate is the proportion of people with a first admission for cancer who underwent a surgical resection.
  3. The following LHDs with substantial interstate outflow were excluded: Northern NSW LHD, Southern NSW LHD, Murrumbidgee LHD (including Albury) and Far West LHD.


  1. Currow DC, You H, Aranda S, McCaughan BC, Morrell S, Baker DF, et al. What factors are predictive of surgical resection and survival from localised non-small cell lung cancer? Med J Aust. 2014 Oct 14;201(8):475–480.
  2. Coupland VH, Lagergren J, Lüchtenborg M, Jack RH, Allum W, Holmberg L, et al. Hospital volume, proportion resected and mortality from oesophageal and gastric cancer: a population-based study in England, 2004–to 2008. Gut 2013 Jul;62(7):961–6. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl–2012–303008.
  3. Riaz, SP, Lüchtenborg M, Jack RH, Coupland VH, Peake MD, Møller H. Variation in surgical resection for lung cancer in relation to survival: population-based study in England 2004–2006. Eur J Cancer 2012 Jan;48(1):54–60. doi: 10.1016/j. ejca.2011.07.012.
  4. Koppert LB, Lemmens VE, Coebergh JW, Steyerberg EW, Wijnhoven BP, Tilanus HW, et al. Impact of age and co- morbidity on surgical resection rate and survival in patients with oesophageal and gastric cancer. Br J Surg 2012 Dec; 99(12):1693–700. doi: 10.1002/bjs.8952.
  5. Creighton N, Walton R, Roder DM, Aranda S, Richardson AJ, Merrett N, et al. Pancreatectomy is underused in NSW regions with low institutional surgical volumes: a population data linkage study. Med J Aust. 2017;206(1):23–29.