The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has found that cancer rates are continuing to improve.


The Cancer survival and prevalence in Australia: period estimates from 1982 to 2010 report shows  that five year survival from all cancers increased from 47 per cent to 66 per cent in the period from 1982 to 2010.


"While overall cancer survival is improving in Australia, variations still exist between types of cancer," said AIHW spokesperson Anne Bech.


The cancers with the largest survival gains between 1982-1987 and 2006-2010 were kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and prostate cancer.


While 5-year survival from prostate cancer increased considerably, from 58% in the period 1982-1987 to 92% in 2006-2010, explaining this trend is somewhat difficult, with complex issues around early detection using PSA testing.


Four cancers did not show any significant changes in survival over this time: cancer of the lip, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the brain and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.


"Between 2006 and 2010, the cancers with the highest survival were testicular cancer, lip cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, and melanoma of the skin," Ms Bech said. All of these cancers had a 5-year survival of 90% or more.


"On the other hand, pancreatic cancer and mesothelioma had the lowest survival- 5-year survival for these cancers was less than 10%."


Women generally had slightly higher survival rates than men, with 5-year survival for all cancers equalling 67% for females compared with 65% for males.


The full publication can be found here Cancer survival and prevalence in Australia: period estimates from 1982 to 2010