Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians expected to get cancer in their lifetime: Canadian Cancer Society Report

You probably heard the news. A sobering report was released Monday by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) in partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada.  In it, the CCS forecasts that nearly 1 in 2 Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Further, 1 in 4 Canadians is expected to die of cancer.

“This sobering statistic highlights the fact that cancer is a disease that will touch almost all of us in some way,” says Dr Leah Smith, CCS epidemiologist and one of the report’s authors. “Almost half of us will be diagnosed with at least one form of cancer at some point during our lifetime. In addition, 1 in 4 Canadians will die of cancer. That might be your spouse, your parent, your child or you. The good news is we can do something about it. About half of all cancers can be prevented and research continues to improve the outlook for people with cancer.”

 Some of the report’s most startling findings:

 ·        Cancer is the number 1 killer in Canada

·        Lifetime risk among males is 49%

·        Lifetime risk among females is 45%

·        206,200 cases are expected in 2017

·        Almost 90% of cases among are diagnosed among those 50 years old and up

 All the news was not dire, however. The good news:

 ·        Survival rates are increasing, especially among thyroid and testicular cancer

·        Overall cancer survival rate about 60%

·        Deaths among men down more than 30% since 1988

·        Deaths among women are down about 17% since 1988

 Taking action

Canadians have the power to reduce their cancer risk. “This report underscores how important it is to focus on healthy behaviours and healthy public policies to reduce the number of people hearing the words ‘you have cancer’ each year,” says Smith. “Actions like quitting smoking, eating well, being physically active and practising sun safety, along with appropriate cancer screening tests, can go a long way to reducing your risk of getting cancer.”

Research is also a critical piece of the puzzle. Investments in cancer research will lead to better prevention, enhanced screening, earlier diagnosis, more targeted and effective treatments, improved quality of life and, ultimately, fewer cancer cases and deaths.

“Thanks in part to our donors, CCS is able to invest in the most promising research in Canada,” says Smith. “But the reality is last year, 60% of high-priority research projects went unfunded because of the money we had available. Imagine the impact we could have if we were able to fund 100%.”

Read the report highlights here:

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