Canada’s cancer deaths drop, cases up in women
TORONTO (Reuters Health) – Cancer death rates in Canada have hit their lowest level since 1988, according to statistics released by the Canadian Cancer Society.
Canadian Cancer Statistics 2003 reveals overall cancer death rates in the last 15 years fell by 12% for Canadian men and 3% for women. The drop is 13% for women if lung cancer rates are excluded.”The decrease in death rates is an important part of progress and needs to be celebrated,” said Dr. Barbara Whylie, director of cancer control policy at the Canadian Cancer Society.”But we have a long way to go to defeat cancer’s threat to Canadians,” she added. “There will still be roughly 140,000 new cancer cases and 67,000 deaths in Canada this year.”Among men, cancer incidence rates also declined over the last 15 years, by just over 4%. However, the rates for women over this time period increased by 3.5%, largely because of lung and breast cancer.Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death, and has increased 46% among women since 1988.It will likely be another decade before these rates fall, Whylie said, since the proportion of women smoking didn’t start to decrease until the late 1980s, and the current lung cancer numbers reflect women’s smoking patterns from about 25 years ago.But while overall cancer deaths have declined, Whylie expressed concern over the rising incidence of certain cancers, which, besides breast and lung cancer in women, include prostate cancer in men.She is also concerned over the increasing incidence and death rates in men and women of three relatively uncommon cancers: non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, melanoma and thyroid cancer. Overexposure to the sun can largely explain rising melanoma rates, but Whylie said she isn’t sure why the other rates are increasing.Canadian Cancer Statistics 2003 is produced by the Canadian Cancer Society in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute of Canada, Health Canada, Statistics Canada, provincial/territorial cancer registries, and cancer researchers based at universities and provincial/territorial agencies.(Source: Reuters Health: Juhie Bhatia: April 23, 2003: Oncolink)