Almost 1 in 2 Canadians is expected to get cancer. Here's why

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Almost half of all Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their lifetime, according to new numbers from the Canadian Cancer Society.

The lifetime risk for Canadian men is 49 per cent, while it sits at 45 per cent for women. This puts an enormous burden on individuals, the healthcare system and services and research supported by cancer charities.

"There is a lot we can do to prevent cancer".

But the Cancer Society says this year's report, compiled with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada, uses a new approach to calculate lifetime risk that better captures cancers that might have occurred in the past. We see nearly 90 per cent of cancers are diagnosed in those Canadians aged 50 up.

One in four Canadians will die of cancer - that's 80,800 Canadians in 2017 alone. "That might be your spouse, your parent, your child or you", she said in a statement.

Get screened. If you're in a certain age or population group there are screening tests to identify breast, cervical and colorectal cancers and HPV.

Here in Manitoba, it is estimated that an average of 18 people will be diagnosed with cancer and eight will die of the disease every single day. Almost 2.5 percent of Canadians - or 810,045 people - are living beyond their cancer diagnosis. Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer and is mostly preventable.

Colorectal and breast cancer are the second and third most common cancers diagnosed in the country.

Eighteen-year-old cancer patient Patrick Mc Gill lies in his hospital bed while receiving IV chemotherapy treatment for a rare form of cancer at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center Childrens Hospital
Almost 1 in 2 Canadians is expected to get cancer. Here's why

In Alberta, cancer is expected to claim the lives of 6,800 people this year, said Kristyn Berry, the society's Edmonton-based health promotion coordinator.

According to the cancer society, five-year survival rates have climbed from 25 per cent of cases in the 1940s to 60 per cent of cases today.

Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all the major cancers, at only 8 per cent. Very little progress has been made against this cancer, especially compared to other major cancers.

The Canadian Cancer Society said that lung cancer continues to be the leading diagnosis in the province, and also the main cause of cancer-related deaths in both men and women throughout Manitoba.

Read the full Cancer Society report. "So part of it is we are living longer", she said.

Taking action Canadians have the power to reduce their cancer risk.

The good news, Smith says, is that many cancers can be prevented.

Research is also a critical piece of the puzzle. "Not only is [cancer] being detected earlier, but the treatment for it is helping our quality of life". Thanks to our donors and volunteers, CCS has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. For more information, visit or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

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