Last year, at least 710 Australians were diagnosed with mesothelioma – a rare and fatal cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
According to new data published on Tuesday, the highest rates of new mesothelioma cases (4.9 per 100,000 people) were found in Western Australia, while Tasmania was the lowest (1.5 per 100,000 people).
The figures published by the Australian Institute for Health and Wellbeing are based on diagnoses reported in the Australian Mesothelioma Register, which was established in 2010.
The Institute has also used data from an older institution to make longer comparisons dating back to the early 1980s.
The number of cases of mesothelioma has steadily increased since then, according to AIHW, and in 1982 more moderate cases were reported in 157 cases.
But so far, the number of diagnoses has peaked in 2014 at 770.
Men have four times more likely to be diagnosed with rare cancer than women, with figures from the 2017 phenomenon.
This is expected, since AIHW is the most likely case in cases where men are more likely to be exposed.
Since 2010, 93 percent of people who provided information on work and housing in the state register are sometimes exposed to asbestos.
"Occupational exposures were usually much bigger and they had greater certainty, which could be the cause for most of the cases," says the report of the institute.
The national cancer incidence rate was 2.9 per 100 000, which corresponds to the level of recent years.
Drug survival rates are still very poor, the report finds that slow diagnosis of the disease plays a role.
Mesothelioma was 5.4% relatively surviving between 1985 and 1989 and between 2010 and 2014.
"This condition is often diagnosed as it progresses to advanced stages, because early symptoms may remain unnoticed or mistaken as symptoms for other, less serious conditions," the report says.
The average time between diagnosis and death is about 11 months.