Information about cancer

Cancer is a broad term for a group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Worldwide, cancer is a leading cause of death, and the death toll is projected to continue to rise to over 13.1 million in 2030. 

2021 Canadian cancer statisticsFootnote 1

  • Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada
  • 2 out of 5 Canadians are expected to develop cancer
  • 1 out of 4 will die from the disease
  • An estimated 229,200 new cases of cancer and 84,600 deaths from cancer are expected to occur in Canada in 2021
  • For every hour in 2021, 26 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer, and 10 Canadians will die of cancer  

Key findings from the reportFootnote 1

  • The four most diagnosed cancers (lung, breast, colorectal and prostate) are expected to account for 46% of all cancers diagnosed in 2021.
  • With Canada’s growing and aging population, the number of cancer cases diagnosed each year has been increasing. When the effect of age and population size are removed, the risk of cancer has been decreasing. 
  • The five-year cancer survival rate is now 64%, up from 55% in the early 1990s.
  • The cancer death rate has decreased an estimated 29% since its peak in 1988.
  • Males are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than females (52% vs 48%), and are more likely to die from cancer (26% vs 22%).
  • The death rate from prostate cancer is expected to be half of what it was since the rate peaked in 1995.


2019-2020 = $218 million in CIHR funding for cancer related research 

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