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The Burden of Cancer in Canada
Cancer is the leading cause of premature death in Canada and the third most costly illness accounting for $14.2 billion in direct and indirect health care costs in 1998. The cost of mortality accounted for $10.6 billion of these costs while hospital care accounted for $ 1.8 billion1. There were an estimated 136,900 new cases of cancer in Canada in 2002 and 66,200 deaths. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death however the most prevalent cancers are prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women.
Among men 41 percent can expect to develop cancer during their lifetime; 1 in 8 are expected to develop prostate cancer, 2 in 23 will develop lung cancer and 1 in 15 will develop colorectal cancer. Among women 38 percent can expect to develop cancer during their lifetime; 1 in 9 are expected to develop breast cancer, 1 in 16 will develop colorectal cancer and 1 in 18 will develop lung cancer.
Despite the huge toll of premature death from cancer, five year survival rates for many cancers are improving and estimated overall age-standardized mortality rates for all cancers in 2002 compared to 1985 have declined 3 percent for women and 10 percent for men. Overall cancer mortality rates are estimated to be 42 percent higher for men than for women in 20022.
1 Health Canada, Economic Burden of Illness in Canada, 1998.2 National Cancer Institute of Canada: Canadian Cancer Statistics 2002.
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