Health News: Cancer prevalence on the rise according to StatsCan

January 18, 2012 at 8:30 pm Leave a comment

Five-year rates for the prevalence of most cancers increased from 1997 to 2008, according to Statistics Canada data released Wednesday. Prostate cancer was the most prevalent of all cancers. Prevalence refers to all cancers diagnosed within a given period among people alive on a specified date. To determine the five-year prevalence at the beginning of 2008, statisticians counted the number of cancers diagnosed from Jan. 1, 2003, to Dec. 31, 2007, among people alive at the beginning of 2008.

For all cancers, the five-year prevalence rate was 1,490 cases per 100,000 people at the beginning of 2008. The five-year prostate cancer prevalence was 610 cases per 100,000 people. Thyroid, cervical, laryngeal and liver cancer had prevalence rates on the low end, with 53.1, 32.5, 10 and 6.2 cases per 100,000 people, respectively.

Despite their low prevalence rates, however, thyroid and liver cancer had relatively large increases in their rates. The biggest difference in cancer prevalence rates in men and women was for lung cancer, the prevalence rate of which declined slightly for men while it continued to increase among women. StatsCan said the increase in cancer prevalence could be attributed to several factors, including an aging population, improved disease detection because of advancements in screening technology, more extensive use of screening, increases in underlying disease risk factors and improved survival rates for people with cancer.

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