More than half of all cancers in 2018 will be diagnosed in people ages 60 to 79

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New report from Cancer Care Ontario examines the state of cancer in Ontario

A new report released today by Cancer Care Ontario highlights that the greatest number of new cancer cases in Ontario in 2018 are expected to be diagnosed in people ages 60 to 79, with this age group accounting for more than half of all cancers diagnosed. Half of all cancer deaths are expected to occur in this group as well, while more than one third are expected to occur in people ages 80 and older. However, cancer survival has been improving more for people diagnosed between ages 60 and 79 than for most other age groups.

The Ontario Cancer Statistics 2018 report estimates that in 2018, 90,483 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Ontario and 30,574 people will die from the disease. One in two Ontarians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and the disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the province as nearly one in four Ontarians will die from it.

“The collection and reporting of reliable, up-to-date and comprehensive data is a crucial step in identifying opportunities to reduce the burden of cancer in Ontario,” said Dr. Prithwish De, Director, Surveillance and Cancer Registry, Cancer Care Ontario. “It is important to present a current view of cancer in the province to help us, and our partners, effectively plan for the future using information from which we can make informed decisions, take action and measure the impact of our initiatives.”

Key findings:

  • In 2018, it is expected that 48,038 new cancer cases and 15,394 cancer deaths will occur in people ages 60 to 79.
  • In 2018, 69.7 percent of prostate cancer cases (8,828 cases), 61.6 percent of lung cancer cases (11,396 cases), 53.5 percent of colorectal cancer cases (11,595 cases), and 47.3 percent of female breast cancer cases (11,762 cases) are expected to be diagnosed in people ages 60 to 79.
  • Lung cancer will continue to be the leading cause of cancer death, followed by colorectal, breast and pancreatic cancers. Lung cancer is expected to be responsible for almost one quarter of all cancer deaths and more than half of these deaths will occur in people ages 60 to 79.
  • The greatest improvements in five-year relative survival (i.e., the likelihood of surviving at least five years after being diagnosed with cancer compared to the general population) have been made in people diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 59 as well as people between ages 60 and 79, with survival for the latter group increasing by 16.4 percentage points between 1984 and 2013.
  • Of those Ontarians diagnosed with cancer during the past 30 years, it is estimated that more than half a million (585,016) were still alive at the end of 2013.

“For the first time, there are more Ontarians over the age of 65 than under 15,” said Dr. Michael Sherar, president and CEO, CCO. “The needs of our aging population will be a tremendous challenge for our healthcare system. Together with our partners, it is important that we use the information presented in Ontario Cancer Statistics 2018 to inform our future prevention and cancer control strategies to ensure our cancer system continues to meet the needs of all Ontarians.”

Ontario Cancer Statistics 2018 is the second report in a series that takes a comprehensive look at the state of cancer in the province every two years, focusing on the incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence of the disease. It is intended to support healthcare planners, decision-makers, policy-makers, the public health community, healthcare providers, and researchers in planning for future cancer services, investigating notable patterns and measuring and monitoring population-based cancer control efforts.

For the first time in this report series, emerging issues in cancer control are also examined, including cancer comorbidities (i.e., other health conditions that exist outside of the cancer of interest) as well as the impact of wait time to cancer surgery on survival.

Ontario Cancer Statistics 2018 is available online here.