Health Status of Canadians 2016: Report of the Chief Public Health Officer - How are we unhealthy? - Cancer
How are we unhealthy?
In 2016, more than 200,000 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed.Footnote 1 An estimated 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime which is most often linked to aging (see Figure 1)Footnote 1.
In 2012, cancer was the leading cause of death in Canada at 30% of all deaths. The next leading causes of death are heart disease at 20% of all deaths and cerebrovascular diseases (e.g., stroke) at 5% of all deaths.Footnote 2 An estimated 78,800 Canadians are expected to die from cancer in 2016.Footnote 1
Over time, by sex
Rates of new cases of cancer have decreased for men and increased slightly for women (see Figure 2)Footnote 1.
By income, by sex
Data from 1991 to 2006 show that mortality rates for cancer were much higher for those living in the lowest-income households than for those living in the highest-income households.Footnote 3
|Lowest income quintile||Highest income quintile|
|Men||510 per 100,000||349 per 100,000|
|Women||317 per 100,000||244 per 100,000|
Quintiles are calculated by dividing the Canadian population into five groups of equal size (quintiles) based on household income. Data presented in this table are adjusted by age.
By age, by sex
Rates of new cases of cancer are higher in older Canadians (see Figure 3)Footnote 1. Among the oldest Canadians, rates of new cases of cancer are higher in men than women.Footnote 1
Data on cancer in Indigenous populations are limited and not directly comparable to the data described above. Research on cancer in Indigenous populations has found that:
- Using data from 1991 to 2001, age-standardized mortality rates for all types of cancer were calculated to be 163 per 100,000 for First Nations men, 176 per 100,000 for Métis men and 188 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous men.Footnote 4
- Using data from 1991 to 2001, age-standardized mortality rates for all types of cancer were calculated to be 156 per 100,000 for First Nations women, 180 per 100,000 for Métis women and 134 per 100,000 for non-Indigenous women.Footnote 4
- Rates of cancer are increasing among Inuit in Canada. Using data from 1998 to 2007, the age-standardized rate for new cases of cancers among Inuit was 323 per 100,000 population.Footnote 5
In G7 countries, the United States had the highest rate of new cases of cancer at 318 cases per 100,000 population in 2012. Japan had the lowest at 217 cases per 100,000 population. Canada had 296 cases per 100,000 population (see Figure 4)Footnote 6.
Notes to the reader
- Rates are calculated as age-standardized rates per 100,000 population. Age-standardized rates are adjusted so that they account for different age structures in different populations.Footnote 3 This allows for comparisons across time. For example, cancer is more common in older age groups. With an aging population, there should be more cases of cancer now than in the past. This would also increase the rate of cancer in the overall population. In order to determine if rates are changing, they need to be adjusted to take out the influence of an aging.
- Indigenous populations consist of First Nations, Métis and Inuit.
- G7 countries include seven of the world's industrialized countries, namely the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy and Canada, that form an informal discussion group and economic partnership.
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