Latest update: June 2018

First and foremost, please note that these statistics are estimates based on data from 2010 for Quebec and 2013 for the rest of Canada.

Following is a summary of certain facts and statistics on cancer we hope will guide you through the wealth of information available on the subject.

The number of cancer cases is on the rise

Over the past decade, the number of new cancer cases has increased by 2% per year. This increase is due mainly to aging and population growth.

It is anticipated that in Quebec, the number of new cancer cases will jump by at least 35% over the next 15 years. In 2030, 67,000 Quebecers will be diagnosed with cancer, compared with 53,200 in 2017. The explosion in the number of cases is primarily the result of population growth and aging. Moreover, the incidence of cancer (currently, nearly one person in two) should remain stable for the same period. In addition, in 2017, 21,800 people people died as a result of cancer in the province, representing 146 new cases and 60 deaths per day.

Since 2000, cancer has been the leading cause of death in Quebec, even ahead of cardiovascular disease. On average in Québec, someone is diagnosed with cancer every 10 minutes and every 24 minutes, someone dies.

Despite the rising number of cancer cases, the mortality rate associated with this disease, normalized for age, has been declining since 2000. In general, the overall survival rate has increased from 25% in the 1940s to more than 60% today. This progress is linked to improved cancer screening procedures, advances in treatment and certain changes in lifestyle, such as reducing tobacco use. Good lifestyle habits such as quitting smoking, eating well, doing physical activity and protecting yourself from the sun can greatly reduce the risk of cancer.

Cancer in Quebec

In Quebec, prostate cancer is the cancer most often diagnosed in men.

In 2017:
  • An estimated 4,800 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer
  • An estimated 4,400 men were diagnosed with lung cancer
  • An estimated 3,800 men were diagnosed with colorectal cancer
In Quebec, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in men.

In 2017:
  • An estimated 3,600 men died of lung cancer
  • An estimated 1,350 men died of colorectal cancer
  • An estimated 880 men died of prostate cancerIn Quebec, breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer in women.
In Quebec, breast cancer is the form of cancer most often diagnosed in women.

In 2017:
  • An estimated 6,500 women were diagnosed with breast cancer
  • An estimated 4,300 women were diagnosed with lung cancer
  • An estimated 3,000 women were diagnosed with colorectal cancerIn Quebec, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women.
In Quebec, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women.

In 2017:
  • An estimated 3,100 women died of lung cancer
  • An estimated 1,300 women died of breast cancer
  • An estimated 1,200 women died 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 Line 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: Canadian Cancer Statistics. 2018 Learn more

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

Comment on this article

Sign up for our newsletter


Related items

Definition of cancer

Normally, your body's cells grow in a controlled manner. They divide when necessary and die when they have divided too many times or when they are damaged. Readmore


Chemotherapy is a systemic treatment, that is to say, it can reach all parts of the body and destroy cancer cells, even microscopic ones, wherever it finds them. It uses drugs designed to prevent cancer cells from multiplying and destroying those already present in the body. Readmore

Supporting a love one with cancer

A loved one has cancer and you want to support them in their ordeal? There is no model or recipe to follow. The answer is actually quite simple: be attentive and show that you are there for them. Whatever help you can give will be invaluable. Readmore

Returning to work after cancer

After a long period of absence, returning to work can help people with cancer resume the normal course of their lives, but it can also be difficult. Readmore

Beauty tips for cancer patients

Your skin, hair and nails may be affected by chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Here is a list of little things you can do to better cope with these side effects. Readmore