Latest update: march 2020

First and foremost, please note that these statistics are estimates based on data from 2010 for Quebec and 2015 for the rest of Canada.

We are providing you with a summary of some of the facts and statistics on cancer to help you understand and guide you through everything you may find out about the subject. Although the estimates provided are not accurate forecasts, they do provide a good indication of the actual situation.
 

The number of cancer cases is on the rise

In 2020, 56,800 Quebecers are expected to be diagnosed with cancer, which represents 156 new cases every day. This number has been increasing for several years and is expected to increase even more in the years to come. It is the result primarily of aging and population growth. It is also estimated that in 2020 22,400 people in the province will die of cancer every day, at a rate of 61 deaths per day.

This means that on average in Quebec, someone learns that they have cancer every 9 minutes. Every 23 minutes, someone dies of it. In fact, cancer is the leading cause of death in Quebec, ahead of  cardiovascular disease.

Despite the increase in the number of cancer cases, the mortality rate from the disease has decreased by 20% among women and by 35% among men in Canada since 1988. Overall, for all cancers combined, the net 5-year survival rate increased from 55% in the early 1990s to about 63% in 2019. These advances are linked to improvements in cancer screening practice, advances in treatment and to some lifestyle changes, including reduced tobacco use. Measures such as quitting smoking, eating well, being physically active and protecting yourself from the sun can go a long way toward reducing your risk of cancer.
 

Cancer in Quebec

In Quebec:

Prostate cancer is the type of cancer most often diagnosed in men
Breast cancer is the type of cancer most often diagnosed in women
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in both men and women

We estimate that in 2020 :
  • 4,400 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • 4,900 men will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer
  • 3,900 men will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer
  • 6,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer
  • 4,100 women will be diagnosed with lung and bronchus cancer
  • 3,100 women will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer
And :
  • 3,500 men will die of lung and bronchus cancer
  • 1,500 men will die of colorectal cancer
  • 900 men will die of prostate cancer
  • 3,200 women will die of lung and bronchus cancer
  • 1,300 women will die of breast cancer
  • 1,200 women will die of colorectal cancer
     

Usefulness and limitations of statistics

Statistics are tools that are designed to illustrate data related to a given population and not to illustrate the particular situation of an individual. They can therefore be used to:
  • Describe the health status of a population
  • Evaluate a test, treatment, or therapeutic trial
  • Look for and identify causal factors
  • Assess the quality and control of certain practices
  • Assess and establish the health care economic system
  • Illustrate the probability of healing, remission or recurrence
However, statistics can’t be interpreted as individual predictors of cure, remission or relapse; they are not certainties.
 
We can’t base the chances of recovery from cancer on statistics. There are many variables to consider, such as the type of cancer, its location, the stage of the disease and the response to treatment.

To learn more about the various topics related to cancer, please contact our Info-cancer hotline at 1 800 363-0063 FREE. A specialized oncology nurse will listen to you, answer all your questions and give you the support you need.

Source: Brenner DR, Weir HK, Demers AA, Ellison LF, Louzado C, Shaw A, Turner D, Woods RR, Smith LM. Projected estimates of cancer in Canada in 2020. JAMC 2020;192:E199-205. 

Consult our catalogue to find publications on this topic that you can borrow free of charge.
 

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