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Download the full infographic of brain cancer statistics

Brain cancer survival rates are low and have hardly changed for 30 years, despite significant increases in survival for Australians diagnosed with other types of cancer, such as prostate and breast cancer. Treatment is challenging because it affects our most vital organ. Brain cancer costs more per person than any other cancer, yet only receives a small fraction of federal government cancer research funding.   


On average, approximately 1600 brain cancers are diagnosed each year in Australia; that is roughly one person diagnosed with brain cancer every five hours. (1)



  • Relative five-year survival for brain cancer has hardly changed for 30 years, increasing by only 1% between the periods of 1984-1988 and 2009-2013.(2)
  • Only two in ten people diagnosed with brain cancer will survive for at least five years.(3)
  • Between 1982 and 2014, brain cancer incidence and mortality trends showed little change.(4)

Five year survival rates from brain cancer



  • Brain cancer kills more children in Australia than any other disease.(5) 
  • It also kills more people under 40 in Australia than any other cancer.(6)
  •  Approximately 1200 people die each year from brain cancer, which is about one every 7 hours.(7)



  • Brain cancer costs more per person than any other cancer because it is highly debilitating, affects people in their prime and often means family members cannot work if they become carers.(8)
  • For those aged 35–44, brain cancer accounted for the highest proportion of cancer expenditure, totalling $32 million.(9)

The Cost of Cancer by Type 2007


Brain cancer research receives very little funding compared to other cancers and there is also minimal spend on care co-ordination or other infrastructural support for patients.

Brain cancer receives less than 5% of federal government cancer research funding.(10)

NHMRC Funded Research Into Cancer And Other Malignant Neoplasms 2000 – 2014 (published and accessed 2015). NHMRC Sources: Extracted from NHMRC research databases RGMS/RMIS/GMS as at Mar 14.

 NHMRC Brain Cancer Research Funding 2012