Half Of All Canadians Expected To Get Cancer In Their Lifetime

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In a new report, the Canadian Cancer Society says one in two Canadians is expected to get cancer in their lifetime, and one in four will die from the disease.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally.

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2012 there were 14.1 million new cancer cases and 8.2 million cancer deaths worldwide. By 2030, the global burden is expected to grow to 21.7 million new cancer cases and 13 million cancer deaths simply due to the growth and aging of the population.

In a new and rather alarming study from the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), approximately one in every two Canadians is expected to be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime, and unfortunately, one in four of those people will ultimately succumb to the disease. That means that more than 206,000 Canadians will be diagnosed by the end of 2017, and around 80,000 people will pass away. 

Because of the growing and aging population in Canada, the country will see an increase in the number of residents diagnosed with cancer each year.

“Between now and 2030, for example, we expect to continue to see a dramatic increase in the number of cancers diagnosed in Canada, and about 90 percent of all the cancers that we expect to be diagnosed in 2017 will be among Canadians 50 years of age and older," said Leah Smith, CCS's epidemiologist.

Air Force Sgt. treating elderly woman

Some cancers, like testicular and thyroid, now have five-year survival rates of over 90 percent. Others, like pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate at only 8 percent. In Canada, it’s foreseen to be the third-leading cause of cancer death. Lung cancer is the most frequently diagnosed overall, as well as the leading cause of cancer casualties among Canadians. 

Generally speaking, though, the chances of Canadians beating cancer are much higher than they've ever been. Back in the 1940s, the survival rate for Canadians was only 25 percent. That's more than doubled to 60 percent. Thanks to better drugs and universal health care, it's definitely a step in the right direction. Hopefully, over time that percentage will increase.

Even though cancer is on the rise, Canadians and everyone, frankly, can reduce their risk by focusing on a healthier lifestyle, not drinking excessively or smoking, and exercising.

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