Introduction: Monitoring cancer trends can help evaluate progress in cancer control while reinforcing prevention activities. This analysis examines long-term trends for selected cancers in Canada using data from national databases.
Methods: Annual changes in trends for age-standardized incidence and mortality rates between 1970 and 2007 were examined by sex for 1) all cancers combined, 2) the four most common cancers (prostate, breast, lung, colorectal) and 3) cancers that demonstrate the most recent notable changes in trend. Five-year relative survival for 1992-2007 was also calculated.
Results: Incidence rates for all primary cancer cases combined increased 0.9% per year in males and 0.8% per year in females over the study period, with varying degrees of increase for melanoma, thyroid, liver, prostate, kidney, colorectal, lung, breast, and bladder cancers and decrease for larynx, oral, stomach and cervical cancers. Mortality rates were characterized by significant declines for all cancers combined and for most cancers examined except for melanoma and female lung cancer. The largest improvements in cancer survival were for prostate, liver, colorectal and kidney cancers. While the overall trends in mortality rates and survival point to notable successes in cancer control, the increasing trend in incidence rates for some cancers emphasize the need for continued efforts in prevention.