Cancer Cases Triple in Ontario Since 1981


Cancer Care Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Cancer Survival Rate Increased by 48%

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH – While the last three and a half decades have seen the number of new cancer cases nearly triple, survival from cancer has also steadily increased, according to a new report – Ontario Cancer Statistics 2016 – released today by Cancer Care Ontario.

In this first comprehensive look at the state of cancer in the province, Cancer Care Ontario has compiled data from the Ontario Cancer Registry to provide a clear picture of cancer, focusing on the incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence of the disease.

The number of new cancer cases in Ontario is increasing and can largely be attributed to an aging population and population growth. At the same time, cancer survival for nearly all cancer types is improving and mortality rates are declining, particularly from breast, colorectal and lung cancers. The five-year relative survival for all cancers combined in Ontario is 63 per cent, which is a significant increase from 48 per cent in the mid-1980s.

The report, which is a definitive source for cancer surveillance information for Ontario, will be published every two years. It is intended to support decision-makers, the public health community, healthcare providers, researchers and others in planning and evaluating population-based cancer control efforts, including those related to cancer screening, prevention and treatment.

“This data emphasizes the importance of the work we’re doing with our partners to reduce the burden of cancer in the province,” says Dr. Prithwish De, Director, Surveillance and Cancer Registry, Cancer Care Ontario. “Moving forward, this report will serve as a resource for us and others to reference when making informed decisions, taking action and measuring the impact of our work.”

Key Statistics:

  • Approximately 1 in 2 Ontarians will develop cancer in their lifetime and approximately 1 in 4 Ontarians will die from it.
  • Approximately 85,648 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in Ontario in 2016, which is almost triple the number of cases that were diagnosed in 1981 (29,649 cases)
  • There are now more people living in Ontario with a diagnosis of cancer than there were 20 years ago – an estimated 362,557 people as of January 1, 2013 (or about 2.7 per cent of the population)

“An aging and growing population presents unique challenges to the Ontario cancer system,” says Dr. Michael Sherar, President and CEO, CCO. “Together with our partners, we are working towards the priorities outlined in our fourth Ontario Cancer Plan to reduce the risk of Ontarians developing cancer, while improving the quality of care for current and future patients.”

A full copy of the report is available at

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