Data Blog

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Cancer in Canada Published: ()

Cancer is a disease that develops when abnormal cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled way, forming lumps or tumours that can invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) monitors national cancer trends using data from the Canadian Cancer Registry (CCR). PHAC works closely with the Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada, provinces and territories, and other partners to provide annual statistics to inform cancer prevention and control in Canada.

Some of the latest findings:

565 per day

Every day an average of 565 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer while 220 Canadians will die from it. [CCS 2017]

1 in 2

About 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime. [CCS 2017]

Top 4

Fifty percent of all new cancer cases are one of the following: lung, breast, colorectal or prostate. [CCS 2017]


Cancer is responsible for 30% of all deaths in Canadians. [CCS 2017]


Almost 90% of Canadians who develop cancer are 50 years or older. [CCS 2017]

Men vs. Women

In 2017, nearly equal number of men (103,100) and women (103,200) were diagnosed with cancer in Canada. [CCS 2017]

5-year survival rates

The percentage of Canadians surviving at least five-years following their cancer diagnosis has improved over a 16 year period (1992-2008) from 53% to 60% for all cancers combined. [CCS 2017]

Why 5 years?

The 5-year survival rate is a measure that estimates the percentage of people alive 5 years after their cancer diagnosis, whether they are disease-free, in remission, or still having treatment. Many of these people will survive much longer— especially if the cancer is detected and treated early. For example, if the 5-year survival rate for a specific cancer is 90% it means that people who have that cancer are about 90% as likely to live for at least 5 years after diagnosis compared to people in the general population.

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