Written By: PeiZhong Wang
Translated By: Suky Zheng
For decades, the Canadian Cancer Society has reported national data on cancer incidence and cancer death rates annually. However, the number of new cancer patients per unit population (incidence rate) cannot reflect the number of cancer survivors in the population (prevalence rate). The number of cancer patients in the population is affected by the incidence rate and absolute population, and also impacted by the survival time after diagnosis.
The Canadian Cancer Society released a special issue on November 8 on national epidemiological data of cancer patients for the first time, a good indicator to gauge how many cancer patients are around us. Analysis and application of this data will help to provide better arrangements for corresponding services and support for cancer patients. Because the number of cancer cases and the number of patients is dynamic and cannot be obtained directly, it can only be estimated by epidemiological statistics. Using early 2018 as an observation point, the total number of cancer patients in the country exceeded 1.6 million (below), of which only 310,000 were diagnosed within two years, accounting for 18.4% of all cancer patients. 60.9% are patients diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago, demonstrating that for most people, the prognosis is very good.
The Canadian population continues to increase and the survival of cancer patients continues to improve; assuming that the incidence rate remains unchanged, the number of cancer patients will continue to increase. Among all male cancer patients, prostate cancer accounted for 37.1%, followed by colorectal cancer (12.7%) and bladder cancer (7.2%), as seen in the figure below.
Among all female cancer patients, breast cancer accounted for 37.1%, followed by colorectal cancer (10.0%) and uterine cancer (8.5%), as shown in the figure below.
Among younger cancer patients under the age of 15, 35% had leukemia, 17% had central nervous system cancers (mostly brain cancer), and 13% had lymphoma.
Editor’s closing remarks:
According to the 2022 Canadian Cancer Society report, cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. It accounted for 28.2% out of all causes of death (higher than 18.5% of heart disease), and more than 230,000 Canadians have been diagnosed with cancer in the past year. Canada has made great progress in cancer prevention and treatment for decades, and this newly released data provides evidence of this. At present, more than 60% of Canadian cancer patients were diagnosed 5 years ago; for a majority of them, they can still live a normal life after diagnosis. Canada has a very good medical service system, and cancer patients can get good treatment and rehabilitation services. In addition, various non-profit organizations and cancer patient groups also play an important role. Hopefully, treatment and recovery for cancer patients will continue to improve in the future.
About the Author
Wang Peizhong graduated from Tianjin Medical University (Bachelor, Master) and University of Toronto (PhD in Epidemiology). He has been engaged in tumor epidemiology teaching and research for many years.