Australian Adolescents and Young Adults–Trends in Cancer Incidence, Mortality, and Survival Over Three Decades

This study synthesizes and reviews data on adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancers in Australia, including trends in incidence and mortality. AYAs are defined here as young people aged 15-24 years. National data from 1980-2012 were extracted from the Australian Cancer Database and the Australian National Mortality Database. In 2000–2009, the annual all-cancer incidence was 31.7 cases per 100,000 population, and the mortality rate was 4.1 per 100,000. Melanoma was the most common cancer, and bone cancer had the highest mortality/poorest survival rates. All-cancer incidence rates peaked in the late 1990s, but then declined, largely due to melanoma. All-cancer mortality decreased through the study period and further reductions are project for the next decade, although specific cancers (colorectal and lymphomas) were projected to increase in incidence. While overall decreases are encouraging, consistently high mortality and poor survival rates for some cancers remain concerning. These statistics show that there is a need for more research into possible causes of AYA cancers and practices for prevention and early detection.

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