Canadian Cancer Statistics


The Government of Canada recognizes that cancer is a major health issue for Canadians.

The Canadian Cancer Statistics publication provides estimates of the burden of cancer in Canada for the current year. Detailed information on cancer incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence for over 20 different types of cancer by sex, age and geographic region are provided in the publication. Trends over time are also examined.  The information is generated using data from the Canadian Cancer Registry and the Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database at Statistics Canada, with input from provincial and territorial cancer registries. 

A full copy of the report is available on the Canadian Cancer Society Website.

About the Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017

Canadian Cancer Statistics is an annual series that began in 1987. This edition was developed by cancer surveillance experts on the Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee, who were brought together by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada.  The publication is designed to help health professionals, policy-makers and researchers make decisions and identify priority areas. 

Highlights of what you will find in the Canadian Cancer Statistics 2017 annual report:

The burden of cancer in Canada continues to rise

  • In 2017, over 200,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer and 80,000 will die from cancer.
  • During their lifetime, nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer,  and 1 in 4 will die from the disease.
  • Lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers account for half of all cancers diagnosed in Canada.
  • Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in males and breast cancer is the most common cancer in females.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada.
  • Over 25% of all cancer deaths in Canada are due to lung cancer.

Cancer is predominately seen in those 50 years of age and older

  • The risk of cancer increases with age, particularly in Canadians 50 years of age and older.
  • Nearly 90% of new cancer cases and 96% of cancer deaths occur among those aged 50 and over.
  • The highest proportion of cancer deaths will occur in Canadians 80 years and older (34.1%).

Cancer death rates declining in Canada

  • The mortality rate for all cancers combined continues to decline in Canada.
  • Cancer death rates have been declining since 1988 among men, and since the mid-1990s among women.
  • In particular, cancer mortality rates are decreasing more than 2% per year for lung, colorectal, prostate and oral cancers in males; breast and ovarian cancers in females; and Hodgkin disease and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, stomach cancer, and larynx cancer in males and females.
  • Cancer mortality rates are notably increasing for liver cancer among both males and females, and uterine cancer in females.

Incidence rates in some cancers still rising

  • In recent years, the incidence rate of cancer in males has decreased by 1.7% per year while the incidence rate in females is slowly increasing at 0.4% per year.
  • In particular, the incidence rates of thyroid cancer, liver cancer, and melanoma in males and females and uterine cancer in females have increased over 2% per year.
  • The incidence rates of larynx cancer in males and females, prostate and stomach cancers in males and cervical cancer in females have decreased over 2% per year.

For a full PDF version of the 2017 annual report visit the Canadian Cancer Society Website.

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