Trends in Incidence and Mortality

Much of the increase in cancer incidence over the past 30 years is due to an aging population; this increase can then be expected to continue as the population continues to age. With the rising incidence of cancer, there will be an equal increase in the need for diagnostic, treatment and support services in the healthcare system.

Cancer incidences increasing: Thyroid, Liver, Lung cancer for women

Cancer incidences decreasing: Prostate, Stomach, Lung cancer for men, Larynx

Cancer incidences fluctuating with age: Bladder, Breast, Colorectal

Incidence rates differ between sexes according to age. Specifically, females between 20 and 59 years have consistently higher incidence rates than males. And males under 20 and over 70 have consistently higher incidence rates than females.


On average, mortality rates declined by at least 2% per year for the following cancers: colorectal, lung and prostate cancers in males; breast, ovary and cervical cancers in females; and larynx, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and stomach cancers in both sexes. Liver cancer mortality rates increased in both males and females

Among people under the age of 55 years, females account for a greater proportion of cancer deaths. Around age 55 and above, the mortality rate for males surpasses that for females.

While the overall incidence rate of cancer has been slightly increasing in Canada, the cancer death rate has been decreasing. The decrease in the overall mortality rate also reflects the availability of better treatment options, particularly for cancers that are detected at an early stage of disease when they are most responsive to treatments.

Further information is available at or by calling 1-888-939-3333

*Data contained on this page taken from ‘Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013.

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