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More Canadians Surviving Cancer

Although being diagnosed with cancer is terrible for patients and their families, the good news is the chance of surviving the disease is much greater now.

According to a new study by Statistics Canada, five-year survival rates for many types of cancer have gone up within the last decade – likely the upshot of earlier diagnosis and better treatment.

Researchers predicted 62 per cent of Canadians diagnosed with cancer between 2004 and 2006, would be alive five years later. And a good number of those – 58 per cent – are expected to be alive 10 years later.

The findings showed survival rates varied depending on the type of cancer. Five-year survival rate for people with non-Hodgkin lymphoma was 63 per cent for people diagnosed from 2004-2006. The five-year survival rate for those diagnosed from 1992-1994 was much lower however, at 51 per cent.

The rates also jumped significantly for leukemia (from 44 to 54 per cent), prostate cancer (from 86 to 95 per cent), and liver cancer (from nine to 17 per cent).

“Statistics derived from an entire population’s cancer survival experience provide a useful indicator of the disease’s burden,” StatsCan says in the study.

“These estimates do not necessarily reflect an individual’s chances of surviving for a given period. The prognosis for a specific person diagnosed with cancer will take into account individual factors that may affect survival such as frailty, co-morbidity, stage of disease at detection, treatment modality, and response to treatment. Nonetheless, the data provide excellent information on the impact of various types of cancer following diagnosis.”

Researchers came to their conclusions by analyzing the Canadian Cancer Registry linked to the Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database.

Read Cynthia Mulligan’s blog about Kicking Cancer