Despite cancer still being the leading cause of death in Canada, cancer death rates are on the decline, according to the latest statistics released by the Canadian Cancer Society.
Between 1988 and 2007, overall cancer death rates declined by 21 percent for men and nine percent for women.
Cancer prevention is thought to be the biggest reason for the decline in death. "A large body of evidence has accumulated over the last 30 years showing that about half of cancers can be prevented," says Gillian Bromfield. director of Cancer Control Policy with the Canadian Cancer Society.
What is thought to be the one of the major factors in contributing to the decline in cancer deaths is that fact that fewer men have developed lung cancer in recent years, either because they have quit smoking or never picked up the habit in the first place. Between 1988 and 2007 the lung cancer death rate among Canadian men dropped by 30 percent. In 2010 just 20 percent of Canadian men were smokers, compared to an all-time high of 61 percent in 1965.
Between 1988 and 2007 death rates decreased for lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. However, lung cancer still remains the No. 1 cancer killer of Canadian men and women, killing an estimated 37,000 Canadians each year.
In the report, Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society, says that while significant progress has been made in reducing smoking among Canadians, more work needs to be done.
The Canadian Cancer Statistics predicts that 75,700 deaths from cancer will still occur in 2012.