QUEENSLAND has the highest rates of cancer in Australia
QUEENSLAND has the highest rates of cancer in Australia

Queensland takes #1 spot, and not in a good way

QUEENSLAND has the highest rates of cancer in Australia, with melanoma and prostate cancer our biggest cancer killers, a report has revealed.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's annual cancer report, released Friday, will show the Sunshine State has the nation's highest age-standardised rate of all cancers, 531.9 per capita, followed by Tasmania (517.3), NSW (499.5) and WA (492.7).

The report predicts 134,174 new cases will be diagnosed nationally this year, nearly 370 a day. At a rate of 470 per 100,000 people, this would be nearly three times more cases than in 1982, but down from 504 cases per capita in 2008.

AIHW spokesman Justin Harvey said declining rates of prostate cancer were behind the decrease.

"Cancer continues to be more common in males than females overall," he said. "In 2017, it is expected more than half (54 per cent) of all diagnosed cases will be for males."

Survival rates continue to improve due to more screening, with Australia again ranked the best in the world for survival, according to the report.

The AIHW predicts the age-standardised death rate from cancer will drop by 23 per cent since 1982, estimating 47,753 people will die from cancer in 2017.

Lung cancer remains the biggest killer nationally. It is expected to cause one in five deaths.

But Queenslanders were more likely than the rest of the country to contract melanoma, with an age-standardised rate of 70 cases per 100,000 people between 2008 and 2012.

And we were more likely than people in all other jurisdictions to die from prostate cancer, with 33 deaths per 100,000 males between 2010 and 2014, or from melanoma with eight deaths per capita over the same time period.

This is despite national improvements in the diagnosis of prostate cancer thanks to prostate-specific antigen testing.

Low levels of PSA are normally present in the blood but as a man gets older, the prostate often grows and the level of PSA gets higher.