Statistics confirm BC has lowest cancer incidence and death rates in Canada again in 2011 and lowest incidence of colorectal cancer

18 May 2011

Vancouver -

The 2011 Canadian Cancer Statistics indicate that British Columbia again has the lowest incidence of cancer and lowest mortality rates in Canada, which is attributed to the healthier lifestyle of province residents and the high quality of cancer treatment.

BC will have 22,100 new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2011 and 9,300 deaths. There will be 177,800 new cases of cancer in Canada in 2011 and 75,000 deaths.

Canada has an estimated incidence rate of 406 per 100,000 of population. When compared to the other provinces BC has the lowest incidence rate for males with 412 per 100,000 of population and for females with 324 per 100,000 of population.

BC has the lowest death rate, 171 deaths per 100,000 males and 130 deaths per 100,000 females. The estimated national mortality rate in Canada is 167 deaths per 100,000 of the population.

“We are greatly encouraged by this data, which suggests our cancer prevention strategies are having an effect,” said Cathy Adair, Vice President, Cancer Control. “The greater the commitment to cancer prevention by individuals, communities and governments, the greater the potential to reduce the risk of cancer,” she added.

BC also has the lowest incidence of colorectal cancer in men and women and among the lowest death rate for colorectal cancer in men and women in Canada.

In BC this year approximately 580 men and 510 women will die from colorectal cancer and about 1,550 men and 1,150 women will be diagnosed with it.

Colorectal cancer, the fourth most common cancer in Canada and the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Canada, is the special focus of the report in the 2011 Canadian Cancer Statistics.  In Canada in 2011, 8,900 Canadians will die from colorectal cancer and an estimated 22,200 new cases are expected. The five year survival rate for colorectal cancer is 63% (2004-2006).

Up to 15,000 colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented in the age group 50 to 74 in the next 10 years if screening was done for this age group. People over 50 should be screened every two years with one of the available stool tests (FOBT or FIT).

The Canadian Cancer Society supports the implementation of organized colorectal screening program in British Columbia and encourages residents to talk to their doctors if they are at risk or if they have symptoms.

“It is also important for British Columbians and Yukoners to know the ways to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, which are eating a healthy diet, being physically active to maintain a healthy body weight, not smoking and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption,” said Ms Adair.

The possible symptoms may include: a change in bowel habits; blood (either bright red or very dark) in the stool; diarrhea, constipation or feeling that the bowel does not empty completely; stools that are narrower than usual; general abdominal discomfort (frequent gas pains, bloating, fullness or cramps); unexplained weight loss; feeling very tired and vomiting.

According to the 2009 Colon Cancer Screening Survey, 81% of Canadians in the age group 50 to 74 were aware of screening tests and their benefit. But unless individuals have a conversation with their doctors, many remain unscreened.

There is good news in that the incidence and death rates for the majority of cancers have stabilized or declined in the past decade and the 5 year survival rate for all cancers is 62%.

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Background Information

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2011: General highlights

• An estimated 177,800 new cases of cancer (excluding 74,100 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer) and 75,000 deaths from cancer are expected to occur in Canada in 2011.

• More men than women are diagnosed with cancer, but the gap between the two sexes has narrowed in recent years (52% of cases are in men versus 48% in women).

• More than one-quarter of all cancer deaths – 27% – are due to lung cancer.

• The death rate for all cancers combined is declining for males in most age groups and for females under 70.

• The five-year relative survival rate for all cancers combined is 62%.

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2011: BC highlights

• When looking at all cancers combined, both cancer incidence and mortality rates are lower in British Columbia than in the rest of the Canada.

• Prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancers continue to be the most prevalent cancers in BC. In 2011 these four cancers will account for approximately 53% of all cancer incidences in BC.

• Even though lung cancer incidence and mortality in BC are estimated to be the lowest in Canada, double the number of men and women die from lung cancer (2,500) than those who die from breast cancer and prostate cancer combined (1,130). Lung cancer is estimated to cause 27% of all cancer deaths in BC.


A closer look at cancer statistics for BC women:

Cancer incidence rates in BC women:

• BC women have the lowest overall incidence rate of cancer in the country. BC women also have the lowest incidence rate for breast and colorectal cancer.

Cancer mortality rates in BC women:

• BC women have the lowest overall mortality rate for cancers in Canada. BC women also have the lowest mortality rate for breast cancer in the country.

New cancer cases in BC women:

• For 2011, an estimated 10,200 women will be diagnosed with some form of cancer (the same as last year). There will be 2,800 diagnoses of breast cancer. There will be an estimated 1,500 cases of lung cancer and 1,150 women are expected to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Estimated cancer deaths in BC women:

• There are an estimated 4,300 cancer deaths predicted for women in BC this year (200 less than last year). Deaths due to lung cancer are expected to be at 1,250. 600 women are expected to die of breast cancer and 510 from colorectal cancer in 2011.

A closer look at cancer statistics for BC men:

Cancer incidence rates in BC men:
• BC men have the lowest overall incidence rates of cancer in Canada and the lowest incidence of lung cancer and colorectal cancer in the country.

Cancer mortality rates in BC men:

• BC men have the lowest overall mortality rate for cancers in Canada and the lowest mortality rate colorectal cancer and lung cancer and the second lowest mortality rate for prostate cancer in the country.

New cancer cases in BC men:

• An estimated 11,900 men will be diagnosed with some form of cancer in 2011 (500 more than last year). Approximately 3,400 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer (300 more than last year). 1,450 men are expected to be diagnosed with lung cancer and another 1,550 are expected to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Estimated cancer deaths in BC men:

• There are an estimated 4,900 cancer deaths predicted for men in BC in 2011. 1,250 men are expected to die of lung cancer. Deaths for prostate cancer are estimated at 530 while deaths from colorectal cancer are estimated at 580.


Colorectal Cancer Survivor: Lynn Nadin

Lynn Nadin, 56, a mother of two from White Rock BC, is a colorectal cancer survivor, because she spoke to her doctor after seeing one of the early warning signs of the disease.

“At the time, I was 49 and in the middle of training for a half marathon. I was seeing my doctor about a knee problem and mentioned that I had seen blood in the toilet bowl. He immediately organized a test and cancer was diagnosed.”

“Colonoscopies are not a big deal,” according to Lynn, who has had several. “It is worth the minimal discomfort if it has the potential to save your life.”

“I was just coming to the age when FOBT and FIT tests are recommended (50 to 74).”

A healthy lifestyle, combined with an awareness of any changes in the body, have the potential to improve outlook of colorectal cancer. Lynn had no history of colorectal cancer in her family.

Following successful treatment, Ms Nadin was able to return to her position as the director of a high tech dental supply company, and delivers presentations about dental equipment and new technologies.

“I am pleased to be a spokesperson for awareness of colorectal cancer and the importance of early detection and diagnosis—especially talking to your doctor about any concerns.”

Ms Nadin is also a Cancer Connection volunteer and provides emotional support to others with colorectal cancer.


Colorectal cancer researcher: Dr Donald Yapp

Colorectal cancer is a difficult disease to treat. The only cure is early and complete removal of the tumour, but even then, many patients will still relapse.

Dr Donald Yapp, a Canadian Cancer Society funded research scientist at the BC Cancer Agency Research Centre in Vancouver, believes that a comprehensive therapeutic approach is necessary to improve the management of this devastating disease.

He is using tissue samples from colorectal cancer patients to develop colorectal tumourl lines for laboratory research. With these patient-derived tumors, and the latest imaging technologies, he can evaluate the effectiveness of experimental drugs, identify the genetic characteristics of individual colorectal tumours and hopefully find biological markers that indicate which tumour types will respond to specific therapeutic agents.

The information would ensure that patients are given the most effective treatments on the basis of their tumour's characteristics, ultimately improving their overall survival prospects, and sparing them from unnecessary treatments

PLEASE NOTE:
Kathryn Seely
, Director, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon, Ms Lynn Nadin and Dr Donald Yapp are available for interviews.

For further information contact:
Susan Bogle, Manager, Communications
Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon
sbogle@bc.cancer.ca
604 675 7123
778 686 1300

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Kathryn Seely

Director, Public Issues

Phone: (604) 675-7108