Cancer statistics tell us how many people in Canada are diagnosed with and die from cancer each year. They show us the trends in new cases and cancer deaths. Cancer statistics also tell us the likelihood of surviving a cancer diagnosis and the number of people who are alive after a cancer diagnosis.
Canadian provinces and territories collect data on cancer cases and cancer deaths. These data are combined to provide a picture of the impact of cancer for all of Canada.
Statistics are an important part of planning and measuring the success of cancer control.
Incidence is the total number of new cases of cancer. Mortality is the number of deaths due to cancer. To provide the most current cancer statistics, researchers use statistical methods to estimate the number of new cancer cases and deaths until actual data become available.
An estimated 196,900 new cases of cancer and 78,000 deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2015. (The number of estimated new cases does not include 78,300 new non-melanoma skin cancer cases.)
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada and is responsible for 30% of all deaths.
Note: The total of all deaths in 2011 in Canada was 242,074. Adapted from: Statistics Canada. Leading causes of deaths in Canada, 2011, CANSIM Table 102-0522
It is estimated that in 2015:
Lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer are the most common types of cancer in Canada (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). Based on 2015 estimates:
Cancer is a disease that mostly affects Canadians aged 50 and older, but it can occur at any age.
Across Canada, cancer incidence rates vary because of differences in the type of population, risk factors (including risk behaviours) and early detection practices. Similarly, rates of cancer death vary because of differences in incidence, but also potentially differences in access to and outcomes of cancer control activities (for example, screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up) across the country.
Based on 2010 estimates:
Prevalence is the total number of people living with a diagnosis of cancer at a certain point in time. This statistic can be useful in planning healthcare services for people recently diagnosed with cancer and for cancer survivors.
In 2009, about 810,045 Canadians diagnosed with cancer in the previous 10 years were alive. This represents about 2.4% of the Canadian population or 1 out of every 41 Canadians.
The number of newly diagnosed cancer cases in Canada is increasing, but survival rates are also increasing. These improved survival rates account for the growing number of Canadian cancer survivors.
Survival is the percentage of people who are alive at some point in time after their cancer diagnosis. There are many different ways of measuring and reporting cancer survival statistics. Most survival statistics are reported for a specific time period, namely 5 years.
For more information, go to Canadian Cancer Statistics publication.
A clinical trial led by the Society’s NCIC Clinical Trials group found that men with prostate cancer who are treated with intermittent courses of hormone therapy live as long as those receiving continuous therapy.