Lung Cancer Statistics

( Lung cancer accounts for the most deaths from cancer according to figures released today by the Ministry of Health.

Health Minister Tony Ryall says, “In 2007, the year for which figures are available, more than 1500 people died of lung cancer, over 80 percent as a result of smoking.”

“And we know the death toll from smoking is much higher than just lung cancer as smoking also causes death from heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and other cancers. There are also a number of deaths each year from second hand smoking.”

There are approximately 650,000 adults who still smoke in New Zealand – though many do so because they are addicted and unable to give up.

We know that around two in every three smokers would not smoke if they had their life again and most want to give up.

The Government’s announcement in April of a significant increase in the price of tobacco is estimated to prevent 300 deaths per year from smoking in 2021 and prevent an estimated 500 deaths per year by 2031.

There is good support available for people wanting to quit smoking through Quitline (0800 778 778) which provides advice, counselling and access to nicotine replacement therapy.

Breast cancer and bowel cancer are the next most common causes of cancer death in New Zealand.

New Zealand has a well established breast cancer screening programme and the Government announced in May a four year pilot bowel cancer screening programme which is expected to begin next year.

The report is available at:

Cancer is the leading cause of death, responsible for more than a quarter (29.8%) of all deaths.
19,736 individuals were diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and 8519 died of cancer.
The death rate from cancer is dropping and has fallen by 10% over ten years.
The most common diagnoses of cancer are prostate cancer followed by bowel (colorectal) and breast cancers.
Lung cancer accounts for the most deaths from cancer (17.9%). Breast and bowel cancer (colorectal) are the next most common.
Proportionally more Maori are diagnosed with and die from cancer than the general population.

Media Release 1 July 2010 from Hon Tony Ryall, Minister of Health.