Skin cancer facts & stats

  • 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. [1]
  • More than 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer each year. [2]
  • Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
  • Skin cancers account for about 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year in Australia. [3]
  • The number of treatments for basal and squamous cell carcinomas is more than five times the incidence of all other cancers combined. Medicare records show there were 974,767 treatments for squamous and basal cell carcinoma skin cancers in 2015 – that’s more than 2,500 skin cancer treatments every day. [1]
  • Basal and squamous cell carcinoma skin cancers accounted for almost one quarter of all cancer-related hospitalisations in 2010–11. [4]  The cost to the health system of these skin cancers alone is estimated to be more than $500 million annually. The costs to the Federal Government and the community from basal and squamous cell carcinomas are predicted to continue to increase in the future. [5]
  • The most commonly diagnosed cancer among adolescents and young adults is melanoma; it accounts for more than one-quarter of all cancers among Australians aged 15–29 years. [6]
  • In 2014, 386 Victorians died from skin cancer, 1.5 times the Victorian road toll that year. [7]
  • It is estimated that approximately 200 melanomas and 34,000 other skin cancer types per year are caused by occupational exposures in Australia. [8]

For more information visit Cancer Council’s Skin Cancer Statistics & Issues.

Position statements

Cancer Council Australia’s Skin Cancer Committee has developed a number of position statements addressing common myths and misunderstandings and providing clear information and advice aimed at helping Australians reduce their skin cancer risk. Many of the statements have been developed with input from other expert health organisations, particularly the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

These include the following:


1. Staples MP, Elwood M, Burton RC, Williams JL, Marks R, Giles GG. Non-melanoma skin cancer in Australia: the 2002 national survey and trends since 1985. Med J Aust. 2006;184(1):6-10.
2. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Causes of Death, Australia 2013. 3303.0. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra, Australia 2015. Available from:
3. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) & Australasian Association of Cancer Registries (AACR). Cancer in Australia: an overview, 2006. Canberra: AIHW, 2007 AIHW CAN 32.
4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.  Cancer in Australia: An overview, 2014 . AIHW CAN 88. AIHW: Canberra, Australia, December 2014. Available from:
5. Fransen M, Karahalios A, Sharma N, English DR, Giles GG, Sinclair RD. Non-melanoma skin cancer in Australia. Med J Aust. 2012;197(10):565-8.
6. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Cancer in adolescents and young adults in Australia. Canberra, Australia: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2011 Cancer series no. 62. Cat. no. CAN 59.
7. Thursfield V, Farrugia H. Cancer in Victoria: Statistics & Trends 2014 . Cancer Council Victoria: Melbourne 2015.
8. Fritschi L, Driscoll T. Cancer due to occupation in Australia. Aust N Z Public Health. 2006;30(3):213-9.

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