New Cancer Statistics Released by the Canadian Cancer Society

By Cancer Foundation on September 5 / 2019


This Wednesday, the Canadian Cancer Society released an updated report of cancer statistics in Canada. With a new edition released every two years, this report covers important figures like cancer incidence, mortality rates, and survival, with detailed breakdowns of how each affect people of various ages, sexes, and communities throughout the country. When compared against past reports – CCS has been publishing them since 1987 – it is incredible to see the strides that have been made across Canada in improving patient outcomes and experiences, and in coming to understand the disease better.

Some of this year’s key findings include:

  1. Cancer death rates have decreased more than 35% in males and 20% in females since their peak in 1988. This means while although cancer incidences are rising, more people are surviving.
  2. Lung cancer is still the leading cause of cancer death among males and females, but lung cancer death rates are decreasing in both men and women. While there is still lots of work to be done to reduce lung cancer mortality, this does demonstrate the incredible accomplishments made by patient advocacy, research, and clinical trials, helping patients have access to more effective treatments.
  3. For certain cancers, the five year net survival rates have risen to nearly 100%. Thyroid cancers have a 98% five year net survival rate, while testicular cancer has a 97% five year net survival rate.
  4. Across all types of cancer, survival rates have improved from 55% to 63%. This means the majority of people diagnosed with cancer in Canada will survive at least 5 years after their diagnosis.
  5. Men are still more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than women. However, mortality rates among men have decreased significantly.
  6. 90% of patients diagnosed with cancer are age 50 or above, which shows a strong correlation between cancer incidence and age.
  7. Female breast cancer death rates have decreased an estimated 48% since they peaked in 1986, an incredible feat thought to be achieved through improved treatments and better screening options.
  8. Rates of cancer incidence have been increasing due to the growing and aging population. When age and population size are removed from the data, the risk of cancer has actually been decreasing over the years.
  9. Although not a common cancer, pancreatic cancer is expected to be the third leading cause of cancer death in 2019. This is due to a combination of factors, particularly because more common cancers have seen a decrease in mortality rates over the years, but pancreatic cancer has not.
  10. Blood cancers have seen a significant increase in survival rates. The biggest has been for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (from 49% to 68%), followed by multiple myeloma (27% to 44%) and leukemia (43% to 59%). This is due mostly to research that has led to improvements in precision medicine, allowing patients to have better outcomes.

While cancer remains a significant issue in our communities, years of research, awareness, clinical trials, and other initiatives are making a difference. Thank you for supporting cancer research, clinical trials, and Cancer Coaching to help our friends and neighbours have access to the very best local cancer care!

To find out more or read the full report, visit

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