Media backgrounder 2 Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013

29 May 2013


Cancer in Canada: Fast facts

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013 was released today by the Canadian Cancer Society in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada.

Current estimates of new cases and deaths

In 2013:

  • An estimated 187,600 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Canada (not including approximately 81,700 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer).
  • There will be an estimated 75,500 deaths from cancer.

Every hour of every day, an average of 21 people will be diagnosed with some type of cancer, and nine people will die from the disease.

  • Of the newly diagnosed cases, more than one half (52%) will be prostate, breast, lung, and colorectal cancers.
  • Canadians aged 50–79 years will represent almost 70% of all new cancer cases and 62% of cancer deaths in 2013. The highest proportion of new cancer cases (51,600 cases or 28%) will occur in Canadians aged 60–69, while the highest proportion of deaths from cancer (25,500 deaths or 34%) is expected in those aged 80 and older.

The number of new cancer cases continues to rise steadily as the Canadian population grows and ages.

Prostate cancer

  • Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Canadian men (25% of all new cases in men).
  • In 2013, it is estimated that approximately 23,600 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and about 3,900 will die from the disease.
  • The incidence and death rates have both been declining, and the death rate has been declining significantly by almost 4% per year between 2001 and 2009, which likely reflects increased testing for the cancer and improved treatment.

Breast cancer

  • Breast cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Canadian women (26% of all new cases in women).
  • In 2013, it is estimated that approximately 23,800 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and about 5,000 will die from it.
  • Although the incidence and death rates have both been declining, the death rate has been decreasing significantly, with a reduction of 42% since peaking in 1986. The decrease in death rate has been 2.4% per year between 2000 and 2009. This is likely because of earlier diagnosis through screening mammography and availability of improved treatment. The breast cancer death rate is the lowest it has been since 1950.

Lung cancer

  • Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death for both men and women.
  • Lung cancer takes the lives of more Canadians than breast, prostate and colorectal cancers combined.
  • Tobacco use causes about 85% of lung cancer cases. Other causes of lung cancer include radon, asbestos exposure, air pollution, certain lung diseases, a family history of lung cancer and exposure to certain occupational chemicals.
  • In women:
    • The lung cancer incidence rate has been increasing since at least the 1960s.
    • The incidence rate increased by 1.1% per year between 1998 and 2007 but is projected to be stabilizing.
    • The death rate for women between 2000 and 2009 shows a slight increase of 0.6% per year.
  • Among men, lung cancer incidence and death rates began to level off in the mid-1980s after several decades of increase and have been declining ever since. Incidence rates have dropped by 1.8% per year between 1998 and 2007 and death rates by 2.2% per year between 2000 and 2009.

The difference between the male and female trends reflects the drop in smoking that began for men in the early 1960s and much later for women, in the 1980s.

Colorectal cancer

  • For both men and women, the incidence rate has decreased by 0.8% per year since 2000.
  • Death rates continue to decline for both men and women – by 2.7% per year in men between 2004 and 2009 and 1.8% per year in women between 2000 and 2009. This is likely the result of improvements in treatment, such as chemotherapy, and increasing availability and uptake of screening.

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013 was prepared through a collaboration of the Canadian Cancer Society, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada and provincial and territorial cancer registries.

Liver cancer on the rise

Media backgrounder #1: Highlights of 2013 liver cancer statistics

For 75 years, the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. Visit or call us at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).