Male premature mortality variations from cancers by socioeconomic status and marital status were analysed for the period 1986-1989 and 1990-1993 for New South Wales. Cancer incidence and mortality were also surveyed by statistical local areas within metropolitan Sydney between 1985-1991 and correlation and regression analyses were undertaken with socioeconomic indicators and the modified Jarman 8 disadvantage indicator. Martial status variations were found with most major cancers, with not currently married men being more at risk. Cancers of the oesophagus, oral cavity, pancreas, bladder, kidney, liver and trachea, bronchus and lung were more associated with manual occupations and the disadvantage indicator, while cancer of the colon and melanoma were more associated spatially and occupationally with higher socioeconomic status. An unexpected finding with mortality was an occupational status bipolarity with several cancers, notably with managerial and manual workers. There are implications for the more precise targeting of populations at risk.