This annual statistical publication collates and analyses data on primary malignant tumour cases diagnosed in New Zealand, as reported to the New Zealand Cancer Registry.
The NZ Cancer Registry has operated since 1948 and is a population-based tumour register of all primary malignant disease. (Basal and squamous cancers arising in the skin are not required to be reported, except for those of the genitalia.)
The major sources of new registrations are copies of laboratory reports, post-discharge reports from publicly funded hospitals, death certificates and autopsy reports, and discharge reports from private hospitals.
The data collected includes information on the site, stage and pathology of the cancer, as well as demographic information (e.g. ethnicity, age, sex, and domicile). The data is collected under the Cancer Registry Act 1993 and the Cancer Registry Regulations 1994.
The publication highlights the following facts:
Cancer registrations, 2008
- In 2008, 20,317 cancers were registered in New Zealand; 52 percent of the registrations were male.
- Between 1998 and 2008 the number of registrations increased by 22 percent.
- During the same period registration rates decreased by 2 percent, from 351.4 per 100,000 population in 1998 to 344.0 in 2008.
Deaths from cancer, 2008
- Cancer was the leading cause of death for both males and females in New Zealand in 2008, accounting for 29 percent of all deaths.
- In 2008, 8566 people had cancer recorded as their underlying cause of death; of these deaths, 53 percent were male.
- Between 1998 and 2008 the number of deaths from cancer increased by 13 percent.
- During the same period the rate of death from cancer decreased by 13 percent, from 152.4 per 100,000 population in 1998 to 132.3 in 2008.
Most common cancers, 2008
- The most commonly registered cancer in 2008 was prostate cancer, which accounted for 14 percent of registrations. Colorectal and breast cancer were the next most commonly registered cancers.
- For males, prostate cancer accounted for 28 percent of all registrations, with the next most common registrations being colorectal cancer and melanoma.
- For females, breast cancer was the most frequently registered cancer, accounting for 28 percent of female registrations. Colorectal cancer and melanoma were the next most commonly registered cancers for females.
Leading causes of death from cancer, 2008
- Lung cancer accounted for the most deaths from cancer in 2008 (19 percent of all deaths from cancer). Colorectal cancer was the next most common cause of death, followed by prostate and breast cancers.
- For men, the most common cause of death from cancer was lung cancer (19 percent), followed by colorectal cancer and then prostate cancer.
- For women, lung cancer caused the highest number of deaths (19 percent), followed by breast cancer and then colorectal cancer.
Age and sex
- Fifty-six percent of all cancer registrations in 2008 occurred in people aged 65 and over.
- Seventy-two percent of all deaths from cancer in 2008 occurred in people aged 65 and over.
- In people aged 0 to 24, the most common registration was leukaemia in both males (41 registrations) and females (37 registrations). Males in this age group who died of cancer most commonly died of leukaemia (7 deaths), and females of brain cancer (10 deaths).
- Of those aged 25 to 44, melanoma was the most common registration for males, while breast cancer was the most frequently registered cancer for females. These cancers were also the most common causes of death from cancer for each sex in this age group.
- In the 45 to 64 years age group, males were most commonly registered for prostate cancer and females for breast cancer. The most common cause of death from cancer was lung cancer for both males and females.
- In people aged 65 to 74 years, the most common male registration was for prostate cancer, while for women it was breast cancer. Lung cancer was the most common cause of death from cancer for both men and women in this age group.
- In people aged 75 years and over, prostate cancer was the most commonly registered cancer for men, while for women it was colorectal cancer. These cancers were also the most common causes of death from cancer for each sex.
Ethnicity: Cancer registrations, 2008
- A total of 1728 Māori and 18,589 non-Māori were registered with cancer in 2008.
- Māori had an age-standardised cancer registration rate of 393.0, compared to the non-Māori rate of 339.6.
- Between 1998 and 2008 the Māori registration rate fell by 4 percent; the corresponding non-Māori rate fell by 2 percent.
Deaths from cancer, 2008
- A total of 859 Māori died from cancer in 2008, compared to 7707 non-Māori.
- Māori had an age-standardised cancer mortality rate of 210.8, compared to 125.2 for non-Māori.
- Between 1998 and 2008 the Māori mortality rate dropped by 10 percent, while the non-Māori rate fell by 14 percent.