Now and Forever
Oncology Nursing

. :  Facts About Cancer

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2019

(Source: Canadian Cancer Society)

  • Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada. Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime and about 1 in 4 will die from cancer.
  • In 2019, an estimated 220 400 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer and 82 100 will die from cancer.
  • Lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers are expected to remain the most commonly diagnosed cancers, accounting for 48% of all diagnoses in 2019.
  • One-quarter of all cancer deaths are expected to be due to lung cancer. Colorectal, pancreatic and breast cancers are the next leading causes of cancer death.
  • Current five-year net cancer survival is estimated to be 63% for all cancers combined. Survival is very high for some cancer types such as thyroid (98%) and testicular (97%) and very low for others such as esophageal (15%) and pancreatic (8%).
  • The biggest increases in survival since the early 1990s were for blood-related cancers (non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma).

Canada Highlights

  • Cancer incidence rates generally increase from west to east across the country.
  • Cancer mortality rates continue to increase for liver cancer in both sexes.
  • Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for both sexes.
  • The second most common cause of cancer death is breast cancer for females and colorectal cancer for males.

Chances (probability) of developing or dying from cancer. Based on 2010 estimates:

  • 2 out of 5 Canadians (45% of men and 42% of women) are expected to develop cancer during their lifetimes.
  • 1 out of 4 Canadians (29% of men and 24% of women) is expected to die from cancer.


Survival is an estimate of the percentage of people who are alive at some point in time after their cancer diagnosis. There are many different ways of measuring and reporting cancer survival statistics. Most survival statistics are reported for a specific time period, namely 5 years.

  • Based on 2006–2008 estimates, over 60% of Canadians diagnosed with cancer are expected to survive for 5 years or more after a cancer diagnosis
  • Survival rates vary from low to high depending on the type of cancer. For example, based on 2006–2008 estimates:
    • The 5-year net survival rate for lung cancer is low (17%).
    • The 5-year net survival rate for colorectal cancer is about average (64%).
    • The 5-year net survival rate is high for prostate cancer (95%) and breast cancer (87%).
  • Between 1992–1994 and 2006–2008, survival rates increased from 53% to 60% for all cancers combined.

Lifetime Risks

  • More than half (about 52%) of all new cases will be prostate, breast, lung and colorectal cancers.
  • 1 in 4 Canadians are expected to die from cancer.
  • 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime

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