BC has Canada’s lowest rate of cancer

B.C. once again claims the bottom spot in an annual national cancer incidence and mortality report.

In this case, the bottom is the best place to be since it means the province has the lowest rates, according to the Canadian Cancer Statistics 2013 report released today by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Public Health Agency and Statistics Canada.

As with previous years, the lower death rate in B.C. — 139.2 per 100,000 population — is attributable to the province having the lowest smoking and obesity rates, greater physical activity levels, healthier dietary habits and highly integrated provincial diagnosis and treatment programs operated through the BC Cancer Agency. Still, 9,700 B.C. residents are predicted to die from cancer in 2013, 100 fewer than 2012.

Alberta, with 143 per 100,000, and Ontario, with 145 per 100,000, are close behind B.C. in cancer death rate.

Nunavut has the highest rate — 363 cases per 100,000 population.

B.C. also has the lowest incidence rates; 402 per 100,000 males and 329 per 100,000 females, about 10 per cent lower than the national average. It’s estimated that will translate into nearly 24,000 new cases being diagnosed this year, slightly more than last year because of population aging.

The leading cause of cancer death in B.C. is lung cancer and the most common cancers are prostate in men and breast in women. The good news is that for 2013, experts are predicting 200 fewer cases of prostate cancer than the previous year. In breast cancer, mortality rates are the lowest they’ve been since 1950, a pattern also being seen in other developed countries because of improved detection and more effective therapies.

Nationally, the big four remain breast cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer and lung cancer, but rates of these diseases are either stable or declining.