Cancer survival - prostate cancer

    • Five-year survival from prostate cancer has improved over time, from 71.9% in the period 1988–1997 to 96.9% for the period 2008–2017. There were no significant differences in survival for males with prostate cancer under the age of 65 and those aged 65 and over.1-8 The dramatic improvement in prostate cancer survival over time most likely reflects both earlier diagnosis and the effect of better treatment.
    • However, there is also evidence that a substantial proportion of prostate cancers which are diagnosed and treated would not have manifested clinically during a patient's lifetime, nor resulted in cancer-related death. This partly reflects the widespread use of PSA testing in men without any symptoms of prostate cancer.  Such overdiagnosis and overtreatment contribute to patient anxiety and unnecessary sequelae of treatment, including urinary, bowel and erectile dysfunction, as well as placing additional pressure on health services. 9-11



    1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW). Cancer in Australia 2021. Canberra: AIHW; 2021 [cited 2022 Apr 6]. Available from:

    2. ACT Cancer Registry. Canberra: ACT Cancer Registry; 2022 (unpublished data).

    3. AIHW. Cancer Incidence Projections: Australia, 2011 to 2020. Cancer Series no. 66. Cat. No. CAN 62. Canberra: AIHW; 2012. [cited 2022 Jun 10]. Available from:

    4. Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia, 2015-2017. Canberra: ABS; 2019 [cited 2022 Apr 6]. Available from:

    5. ABS. Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia, 2014-2016. Canberra: ABS; 2018 [cited 2022 Apr 6]. Available from:

    6. ABS. Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia, 2013-2015. Canberra: ABS; 2017 [cited 2022 Apr 6]. Available from:

    7. ABS. Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia, 2012-2014. Canberra: ABS; 2016 [cited 2022 Apr 6]. Available from:

    8. ABS. Life Tables, States, Territories and Australia, 2011-2013. Canberra: ABS; 2015 [cited 2022 Apr 6]. Available from:

    9. Loeb S, Bjurlin MA, Nicholson J, et al. Overdiagnosis and overtreatment of prostate cancer. Eur Urol 2014; 65(6): 1046-1055.

    10. Pathirana T, Hayen A, Doust J, et al. Lifetime risk of prostate cancer overdiagnosis in Australia: quantifying the risk of overdiagnosis associated with prostate cancer screening in Australia using a novel lifetime risk approach. BMJ Open. 2019; 9(3):e022457.

    11. Fenton JJ, Weyrich MS, Durbin S, et al. Prostate-Specific Antigen–Based Screening for Prostate Cancer: Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2018; 319(18):1914–1931.


    The authors wish to thank the Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages, the Coroners and the National Coronial Information System for enabling the cause of death unit record file data to be used for this publication.

    To access the data please click on the "View source data" link at the bottom of the visualisation. This link will open up a data table that you can download.