Public Health Agency of Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Share this page

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012


The Government of Canada recognizes that cancer is a major health issue for Canadians. 

The 2012 Canadian Cancer Statistics report provides detailed information on cancer incidence, mortality and other statistics for the most common types of cancer in Canada and in the provinces and territories.  This information is based on cancer surveillance data from the Canadian Cancer Registry, which is a dynamic database housed and maintained by Statistics Canada that contains records of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in Canada.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is pleased to collaborate with the Canadian Cancer Society, Statistics Canada and other partners to produce Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012.
A full copy of the report is available on the Canadian Cancer Society Website.

About the Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012

Canadian Cancer Statistics is part of an annual series that began in 1987 and has been developed by members of the Steering Committee on Cancer Statistics, which is supported by the Canadian Cancer Society. The Steering Committee is responsible for developing content, reviewing statistical information, interpreting data and writing text. The Steering Committee includes individuals from the Canadian Cancer Society, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada, the Canadian Council of Cancer Registries, as well as researchers based in universities and provincial or territorial cancer agencies.

Highlights of what you will find in the Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012 annual report:

Cancer remains a major cause of death

  • In 2012, Canada will continue to see an increase in the number of individuals diagnosed with cancer.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, with the number of new cases expected to increase mainly due to population growth and aging.
  • In 2012, an estimated 186,400 new cases of cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer) will be diagnosed in Canada and 75,700 cancer deaths will occur.
  • Nearly 40% of all cancer deaths in Canada are due to lung and colorectal cancers.
  • Incidence and mortality rates for men surpass those for women at around age 55.

Cancer is predominately seen in those 50 and over

  • The rate of new cases increases with age, particularly in Canadian 50 years and older.
  • Overall, 70% of new cases and 61% of deaths occurring among those aged 50 to 79 years.
  • The highest proportion of cancer deaths will occur in Canadians 80 years and older (33.5%).

Cancer death rates declining in Canada

  • Overall cancer mortality rates are declining in Canada. Cancer death rates have been declining since 1988 among men, and since the mid-1990s among women.
  • In particular, death rates from lung, colorectal, prostate, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, stomach, and larynx cancers have decreased significantly among men.
  • In women, death rates have significantly decreased from breast, cervical, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and stomach cancers.
  • The only cancer in Canada with significantly increasing mortality rates is liver cancer.

Incidence rates in some cancers still rising

  • In the last decade the overall standardized cancer incidence rates have been stable, with marginal increases of nearly 0.1% per year for males and 0.3% per year for females.
  • The incidence rate of liver and thyroid cancers are significantly rising in both men and women. The incidence rate of kidney cancer is also significantly increased among men.
  • The incidence rate of larynx cancer is significantly decreasing in both men and women, while the incidence rate of stomach cancer in men is also significantly decreasing.

For a full PDF version of the 2012 annual report visit the Canadian Cancer Society Website.