Canadians and Cancer

The Canadian Cancer Society published its Canadian Cancer Statistics for 2014 (see www.cancer.ca).  Below are some highlights from their report.

About 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, and about 1 in 4 Canadians will die of cancer. In 2014, it is estimated that 191,300 Canadians will develop cancer, and 76,600 will die of cancer. More than half of new cancer cases (52%) will be lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death, causing more cancer deaths among Canadians than the other three major cancer types combined. Despite this large impact, there has been a substantial drop in the lung cancer death rate (especially for men) over the past 25 years, which has driven a decline in the overall cancer death rate.

Slightly more men than women get cancer in Canada, and the vast majority (89%) of Canadians who develop cancer are over the age of 50. However, cancer can occur at any age. Its impact at a younger age can be particularly devastating. According to Statistics Canada, in 2009, cancer was the leading cause of disease-related death in children under the age of 15 years.

Overall, the five-year relative survival ratio for people diagnosed with cancer is 63%, but it ranges widely by the type of cancer. Some cancers have very high five-year relative survival ratios, including thyroid cancer (98%). Other cancers have consistently low five-year relative survival ratios, such as pancreatic cancer (8%).

The following graph shows the estimated new cases of cancer in 2014 for Canadian men and women:

Cancer incidence and mortality in BC

Overview of new cases and deaths
According to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014, an estimated 9,900 people will die of cancer in British Columbia, and 24,300 new cases will be diagnosed, in 2014.

Cancer statistics for men in British Columbia
For men in British Columbia, prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer.

In 2014:

  • An estimated 3,600 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
  • An estimated 1,650 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
  • An estimated 1,500 men will be diagnosed with lung cancer.

For men in British Columbia, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death.

In 2014:

  • An estimated 1,250 men will die of lung cancer.
  • An estimated 670 men will die of colorectal cancer.
  • An estimated 580 men will die of prostate cancer.

Cancer statistics for women in British Columbia

For women in British Columbia, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed type of cancer.

In 2014:

  • An estimated 3,200 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • An estimated 1,550 women will be diagnosed with lung cancer.
  • An estimated 1,350 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

For women in British Columbia, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death.

In 2014:

  • An estimated 1,200 women will die of lung cancer.
  • An estimated 600 women will die of breast cancer.
  • An estimated 540 women will die of colorectal cancer.

The above figures are taken from Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. These statistics are prepared through a collaboration of the Canadian Cancer Society, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada and provincial and territorial cancer registries. 

3.2 How cancer care is managed in BC

The BC Cancer Agency is responsible for cancer care for the people of BC.  It provides a coordinated cancer control program that includes prevention, screening and early detection programs, research and education, and care and treatment.  It operates six regional cancer centres in Abbotsford, Kelowna, Prince George, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.  The BC Cancer Agency is an agency of the Provincial Health Services Authority, which reports to the BC Ministry of Health.

The BC Cancer Agency manages provincial screening programs for breast, cervical, colorectal and hereditary cancers.

The BC Cancer Agency also has partnerships with other health care providers (physicians, pharmacists, nurses and others) and regional hospitals and clinics across BC who follow provincial guidelines to provide care to those living outside urban centres.