The Daffodil Centre
Close this search box.
Daffodil Day

New research shows cancer is expected to remain the leading cause of premature death in Australia over next 25 years

Total of 1.58 million premature deaths from cancer projected
New research by the Daffodil Centre predicts that unless there are changes in health policy and practice, 1.58 million Australians will prematurely die from cancer between 2020 and 2044, accounting for a total of 24.5 million years of life lost.

The average life expectancy in Australia is among the highest in the world, yet one-third of deaths occur before the age of 75 years. These ‘premature deaths’ remain a significant concern, say researchers at the Daffodil Centre, a joint venture between Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney. These findings emphasise the ongoing importance of accelerating the prevention, early detection, and treatment of key health conditions. Of the high-level causes of death, cancer is estimated to remain the most common cause of premature death for both males and females in 2020–2044, followed by cardiovascular disease.

Professor Karen Canfell
Professor Karen Canfell

Daffodil Centre Director and Chair of Cancer Council’s Cancer Screening and Immunisation Committee, Professor Karen Canfell, said the study was based on current trends and that there were opportunities to significantly reduce premature deaths from cancer and other prevalent diseases.

“The keys to reducing the projected 1.58 million premature deaths are putting established evidence for preventing, detecting and treating disease into practice and targeting research investment to developing new approaches where the evidence is unavailable,” Professor Canfell said.

Anita Dessaix

“We need to do more of what works – and accelerate findings in areas showing important potential, such as risk-based approaches to cancer screening and genetics.” Anita Dessaix, Chair of Cancer Council’s Public Health Committee, said the leading causes of premature death in Australia shared a number of risk factors such as smoking, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, unhealthy weight and risky alcohol consumption.

“All disease groups and the community have a stake in working more effectively to reduce premature mortality in Australia,” Ms Dessaix said. “Whether that’s primary prevention or clinical pathways, evidence-based improvements focused on prevalent chronic diseases have a spin-off benefit for the entire health system.”

Read the research

Trends and projections of cause-specific premature mortality in Australia to 2044: a statistical modelling study


Related news

Stay informed and up to date with our latest research.