Cancer treatments accounted for 115 of the 795 new drugs approved for use in Australia over the last decade, a new report finds.

Cardiovascular drugs and vaccines also featured strongly on the approvals list, and "new frontier" medicines account for one in four new listings, according to the report, Medical Milestones, which was commissioned by research-based industry group Medicines Australia.

"The good news is that new ways of treating people are continuing to emerge. Looking at the last 10 years, we have medicines which are extending life expectancy, improving quality of life and even preventing some diseases altogether," said Medicines Australia's chief executive, Brendan Shaw, commenting on the study's findings.

"Indeed, prevention of disease featured prominently in Australian medicines, with 57 new vaccine approvals," said Dr Shaw. "Vaccines that became available in the past 10 years include childhood vaccines on the National Immunisation Program such as measles, mumps, rubella, polio, diphtheria and whooping cough. Others included meningococcal, cervical cancer, influenza, tetanus, smallpox and cholera," he added.

The decade also saw 82 new treatments for cardiovascular disease approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), plus 33 for arthritis, 39 for gastrointestinal disorders and 27 for diabetes. These approvals have meant "real improvements for people living with these all-to-common diseases," but new treatments have also been approved for much rarer conditions, including Niemann-Pick disease type C, Pompe's and Fabry's diseases, says the industry group.