Cancer of unknown primary

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Cancer of unknown primary statistics

Specific numbers for cancer of unknown primary are not reported separately but are included in the general category other ill-defined and unknown cancers. This broad category includes similar cancers that are grouped and reported together. As a result, the statistics provided do not necessarily reflect the incidence and mortality for cancer of unknown primary.

It can take several years to collect and confirm cancer data, so the number of new cancer cases and deaths from recent years may not be available for some time. The most recent data available are provided below.

Incidence and mortality

Incidence is the total number of new cases of cancer. Mortality is the number of deaths due to cancer.

The most recent incidence statistics for other ill-defined and unknown cancers are from 2016:

  • 5,445 Canadians were diagnosed with other ill-defined and unknown cancers.
  • 2,960 men were diagnosed with other ill-defined and unknown cancers.
  • 2,485 women were diagnosed with other ill-defined and unknown cancers.

The most recent mortality statistics  for other ill-defined and unknown cancers are from 2017:

  • 3,637 Canadians died from other ill-defined and unknown cancers.
  • 1,773 men died from other ill-defined and unknown cancers.
  • 1,864 women died from other ill-defined and unknown cancers.

For more information about cancer statistics, go to the Canadian Cancer Statistics publication.

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