Skin cancer facts & stats

  • Two in three 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. [3]
  • The incidence of treatments for basal and squamous cell carcinomas is more than five times the incidence of all other cancers combined. [1] Medicare records show there were over 900,000 treatments for squamous and basal cell carcinoma skin cancers in 2016 – that’s more than 2,500 skin cancer treatments every day.
  • Basal and squamous cell carcinoma skin cancers accounted for one quarter of all cancer-related hospitalisations in 2014–15. [4]  The cost to the health system of these skin cancers alone is estimated to be more than $700 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]
  • In 2015, 379 Victorians died from skin cancer, 1.5 times the Victorian road toll that year. [6]
  • It is estimated that approximately 200 melanomas and 34,000 other skin cancer types per year are caused by occupational exposures in Australia. [7]

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 2015. 3303.0. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra, Australia 2016.
3. Ferlay J, Soerjomatram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C, Rebelo M, Parkin D, Forman D, Bray F. GLOBOCAN 2012 v1.0, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11. IARC, World Health Organisation, 2013.
4. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.  Cancer in Australia 2017. Cancer Series no.101. CAN 100. AIHW: Canberra, Australia, 2017.
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. Thursfield V, Farrugia H. Cancer in Victoria: Statistics & Trends 2015. Cancer Council Victoria: Melbourne 2016.
 7. Fritschi L, Driscoll T. Cancer due to occupation in Australia. Aust N Z Public Health. 2006;30(3):213-9.

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