Cancer Prevalence in Canada

August, 2022 - Last update: January, 2024

Researching cancer prevalence in Canada is important for determining where future resources and research must be allocated. The Canadian Cancer Society publishes the Canadian Cancer Statistics, which shares up-to-date statistics on cancer prevalence in Canada.

In Canada, the most common cancer diagnosed in 2022 is lung cancer with 30,000 new cases expected. This is followed by breast cancer and prostate cancer with 28,900 and 24,600 new cases expected, respectively.

Incidence of cancer by region in Canada shows that Newfoundland and Labrador (552.8 per 100,000 with 4,000 new cases expected), Ontario (543.0 per 100,000 with 93,400 new cases expected), and Nova Scotia (523.7 per 100,000 with 6,800 new cases expected) have the highest incidence of expected new cancer cases in 2022 per 100,000 people. The Maritimes, in particular, have a higher incidence of new cancer cases compared to the rest of Canada.

Between sexes, cancer incidence differs as well. In males, prostate cancer is most common (20%), followed by lung cancer (12%). Among females, breast cancer is expected to be the most common (25%), followed by lung cancer (13%). It is also expected that cancer diagnosis is higher among males compared to females by 15%.

Cancer-related Mortality

In 2022, it is expected that 85,100 Canadians will die from cancer. A quarter of these deaths is expected to be from lung cancer (20,700 deaths), the most common cancer in Canada. Between sexes, cancer mortality is most likely from lung cancer for both males and females (24% and 25%, respectively). However, cancer-related mortality is higher among males than females by 13%. Cancer mortality is highest in Nunavut (268.4 per 100,000 with 35 deaths expected). This is followed by Nova Scotia (216.8 per 100,000 with 3,000 deaths expected) and Newfoundland and Labrador (215.0 per 100,000 with 1,600 deaths expected).

How Prevalence Can Guide Future Research

With this data, resources can be allotted accordingly to more needed areas, health policies can be assessed, and research priorities can be decided. For example, since the most common cancer diagnosed in Canada is lung cancer, more resources can be focused on reducing lung cancer risk factors. Research can also be focused on lung cancer treatments, diagnosis and care.

Importance of Screening

In Canada, cancer is still a prevalent issue, with an estimated 43% of Canadians being diagnosed with cancer at least once in their lives. Therefore, it is evident that cancer screening is more important now than ever. There are many ways to help screen for cancer, including imaging with full body MRIs. Full body MRI scans offer a comprehensive scan from your head to just below the knees to help screen for cancer among other diseases.


2021-pdf-en-final.pdf (cancer.ca)
Projected estimates of cancer in Canada in 2022 | CMAJ

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