Cancer rates in Canada are the lowest they've been in a decade and death rates from cancer continue to decline, but health experts say Canadians still have something to worry about.
Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. Cancer strikes males and females, young and old, and those in different regions across Canada on a decidedly uneven basis.The current statistics indicate that each Canadian has a greater than 1 in 3 chance of developing cancer in their lifetime, so this disease affects us all.
The development of Canadian Cancer Statistics is supported by charitable funds collected by the Canadian Cancer Society and by in-kind support from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada. 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.
Trends in cancer rates: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 cancer screening rates and the availability and use of treatment vary across the country.
Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014 Report
According to the Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014 report released by the Canadian Cancer Society on Wednesday, melanoma skin cancer is one of the country’s fastest growing cancers. Not only is skin cancer the most common cancer in the country (6,500 new cases of malignant melanoma and another 76,100 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers are expected to be diagnosed in 2014), it is one of the most preventable types.
“We wanted to focus on melanoma and skin cancer this year, because it’s one of those cancers where the incidence rate and death rate are both rising,” says Dr. Robert Nuttall, director of cancer control policy at the Canadian Cancer Society. Nuttall adds looking at cancer statistics from 25 years ago, skin cancer rates have roughly been growing two per cent year over year.
“Causes of skin cancer include overexposure to UV rays from the sun to indoor tanning beds,” he tells The Huffington Post Canada, adding that about 90 per cent of melanoma cases are caused by UV radiation.
Canadians are also spending more of their leisure time (since 1996) outdoors or travelling to hotter destinations, he says. And while tanning beds are banned for teens in several provinces, studies have shown tanning bed exposure can contribute to about 75 percent of melanoma cases for people under the age of 30.
Skin Cancer is on the rise in Canada
Skin cancer, one of the most preventable forms of the disease, is also one of the fastest-rising in this country, according to a new report from the Canadian Cancer Society that notes the death rate for all cancers combined continues to fall for most age groups.
Survival is the percentage of people who are alive at some point in time after their cancer diagnosis. Survival rates vary from low to high depending on the type of cancer and other factors.
Although there are more people being diagnosed with the disease, the actual mortality rate has been dropping by about 2% per year between 2001 and 2009. This year there will be approximately 9,300 Canadians who will die from the disease (about 5,100 men and 4,200 women). Colorectal cancer is the second most likely cause of death for males with a 1 in 28 chance of dying from it. It is the third most common cause of death for females with a 1 in 32 chance of dying from it. The death rate from colorectal cancer continues to decline for both men and women (2.7% per year since 2004) and females (1.8% per year since 2000).
The comprehensive report estimates that 6,500 new cases of melanoma and 76,100 cases of non-melanoma skin cancers will be diagnosed in Canada in 2014. It also estimates 1,490 deaths due to skin cancer are expected this year.
Some Facts and Figure of Canadian Cancer
- There are about 10,000 children living with cancer in Canada today. Each year, about 1500 cases are diagnosed
Because of significant advances in therapy, 78% of these children will survive 5 years or more, an increase of almost 46% since the early 1960s.
- More than 70 percent of children diagnosed with cancer become long-term survivors and the majority of them are considered cured. However, long-term effects of surviving the treatments for childhood cancer can affect these children’s futures.
- In the early 1950s, less than 10 percent of childhood cancer patients could be cured.
- Leukemias, tumors of the brain and nervous system, the lymphatic system, kidneys, bones and muscles are the most common childhood cancers.
- In Canada, childhood cancer remains responsible for more deaths from one year through adolescence than any other disease; more deaths than asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and AIDS combined.
- Childhood cancers have close to a 75% cure rate, with leukemia leading the success charge with close to 90% overall cure rate.
- With a mortality rate of close to 25%, Canada loses tens of thousands of years of potential life each year to childhood cancer. In terms of potential life saved, childhood cancer rank second only to breast cancer.
- Childhood cancers differ from adult cancers. Adults are most affected by breast, lung, prostate, bowel and bladder cancers. Children are most affected by acute leukemia, tumours of the brain and nervous system, the lymphatic system, kidneys, bones and muscles.
- Leukemia is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in children, comprising some 30% of the total new cases diagnosed each year.
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common form and comprises about 75% of these cases. Peak incidence is at two to three years of age, with boys 20% more likely to contract the disease. Survival rate is now 95%, with a 30% relapse rate.
Canadian Clinics and Hospitals for High Ranking in Cancer Survival Rates
There are some top Canadian hospitals earned top grade in CBC report. Canada has some of the best cancer survival rates in the world, and doctors are pointing to our much-maligned public health-care system as the reason. A range of facilities in small towns and urban centres from across the country achieved an overall grade of A+ necessary to make the top hospital list, which is part of Rate My Hospital, a sweeping investigation into Canada’s hospitals by CBC-TV’s the fifth estate.
Hospitals in Alberta, New Brunswick, Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan are represented in the top 10 in the CBC’s rating of acute-care facilities based on patient outcome data. CBC’s the fifth estate has awarded following hospitals across the country top grades as part of a Canadian national hospital performance report card.
Sunnybrooke Odette Cancer Centre is also world renowned and ranks second in Canada, just behind PMH. Toronto General Hospital (TGH) and Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) are part of the UHN (University Health Network) that links the doctors between the TGH, TWH and PMH. BC Cancer Agency located in Vancouver, British Columbia is responsible for cancer care for B.C. and Yukon residents and was ranked 7th in 2011 research spending of between $80-100 million annually.
Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, BC Childrens Hospital in Vancouver and CHEO (Childrens Hospital of Eastern Ontario) in Ottawa specialize in and are exceptional hospitals that treat children with cancer. McGill University Health Centre located in Montreal, Quebec brings together the world’s cancer specialists ranking 4th in Canada for medical research with expenditures exceeding $130 million.