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Canadian Community Health Survey, 2017

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Released: 2018-06-26

The early detection and treatment of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions is an important objective of cancer screening programs. In Canada, more than three-quarters of women met the guidelines for mammogram screening and two in five adults met the guidelines for colorectal cancer screening in 2017.

These results come from the 2017 cycle of the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), which collects information on a wide range of self-reported information about the health status of Canadians, factors determining their health and their use of health care services.

Screening for cancer

The 2017 CCHS collected data on three types of cancer screening—colorectal, breast and cervical.

In 2017, 43% of Canadians aged 50 to 74 reported that they had a Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) in the past 2 years or a sigmoidoscopy in the past 10 years. Cancer screening guidelines suggest that Canadians aged 50 to 74 have a FOBT every 2 years or a sigmoidoscopy every 10 years.

In terms of breast cancer screening, 78% of women aged 50 to 74 reported having a mammogram in the past three years. Among women aged 25 to 69, 74% reported having a Pap test in the past three years to screen for cervical cancer. Canadian cancer guidelines recommend that women aged 50 to 74 have a mammogram every two to three years, and women aged 25 to 69 receive a Pap test every three years.

Helmet use

The 2017 CCHS also asked about helmet use for a variety of physical activities including downhill skiing, snowboarding and bicycling. More than three-quarters of those who skied or snowboarded wore a helmet, while 45% did so when riding a bike. Canadians were less likely to wear a helmet for both in-line skating (34%) and skateboarding (19%) compared with these other activities.

When skateboarding, biking, snowboarding or downhill skiing, women were more to likely to wear head protection than men. Bicycle helmet use declined once Canadians reached 17 years old, but then rose again once people hit their mid-thirties.

Education levels were related to helmet use. Among Canadians aged 25 and older with a high school education or less, just over one-third opted to use a helmet when riding a bike. That rate rose to over half among those with a postsecondary education.

Tracking healthy behaviours

A healthy behaviours score (HBS) can be created using CCHS data. The HBS combines four indicators of health behaviour into a single score. The score represents the number of healthy behaviours an individual reports along four dimensions: smoking status, drinking habits, level of physical activity, and frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption. A score of 1 or 0 is given depending on whether the reported behaviour is healthy or not, with a maximum HBS value of 4.

In 2017, just over half of Canadians aged 18 and older had an HBS of 3 or 4, indicating a higher level of healthy behaviours. Women were more likely than men to have an HBS score of 3 or 4.

HBS also varied by education. When the highest level of education in a household was less than high school graduation, one-third of Canadians had a score of 3 or 4. Among Canadians living in households where someone had achieved postsecondary graduation, just over half scored 3 or 4.

  Note to readers

This article features analysis based on data from the 2017 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). The CCHS is an annual population health survey that provides insight into the health conditions and behaviours of the Canadian population.

Residents of Indian reserves are excluded from the survey's coverage, therefore, the numbers reflect First Nations people living off reserve, Métis and Inuit. Other exclusions are health care institutions, some remote areas, and full-time members of the Canadian Forces (living on or off military bases).

In this article, when two estimates are said to be different, this indicates that the difference was statistically significant at a 95% confidence level (p-value less than 5%)


Additional products featuring the most recent results from the 2017 Canadian Community Health Survey are now available from our website. This includes the Health Fact Sheets (Catalogue number82-625-X): "Cancer Screening, 2017," "Functional Difficulties: Washington Group, 2017," "Helmet use in recreational activities, 2017," "Smoking, 2017," and "Healthy behaviours, 2017."

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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