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Background
Keywords
Findings
Authors
What is already known on this subject?
What does this study add?

Background

Cancer prevalence trends are rarely reported in the published literature, and until now, have not been reported for Canada.   

Data and methods

Based on incidence data from the Canadian Cancer Registry linked with mortality data from the Canadian Vital Statistics Death Database, trends in prevalence proportions over time were calculated by time since diagnosis for a large number of the most common cancers.

Results

Statistically significant increases in prevalence proportions were observed for most individual cancers, and most prevalence durations studied.  Aging of the population contributed to these increases.  Relatively large increases were observed for liver and thyroid cancer, while decreases occurred for cancers of the larynx and cervix uteri. 

Interpretation

Information on how and why trends vary by cancer can inform resource allocation planniNg E. 

Keywords

Epidemiologic methods, neoplasms, registries, surveillance

Findings

The measure of prevalence, which is used to study the burden of a disease in a population, is a cornerstone of cancer surveillance. Duration-specific prevalence estimates, which incorporate the time elapsed since diagnosis, can be used as a proxy for specific care needs. This is because the length of time since detection of the cancer closely relates to the phase reached along the care continuum. Cases diagnosed in the previous ten years represent the major demand for health care services. In the first two years, services would likely include primary treatment and supportive care for recovery from its effects, followed over the next three years by close clinical assessment for recurrence, and then less intense follow-up over the next five years. Cancer-specific estimates are useful in health care planning, as cancer survivors' requirements for services vary according to the particular cancer involved. [Full Text]

Authors

Larry F. Ellison (613-951-5244; larry.ellison@statcan.gc.ca) is with the Health Statistics Division, and Kathryn Wilkins (613-951-1769; kathryn.wilkins@statcan.gc.ca) is with the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada, Ottawa, ON K1A 0T6.

What is already known on this subject?

  • In Canada, the rate at which new cancer cases are diagnosed continues to rise. 
  • Survival from cancer is also increasiNg E.
  • Cancer prevalence trends are rarely published, and until now, have not been reported for Canada.   

What does this study add?

  • Statistically significant increases in prevalence proportions were observed for most individual cancers and most prevalence durations.
  • Increases were relatively large for liver and thyroid cancer.
  • Decreases occurred for cancers of the larynx and cervix uteri. 
  • The greatest sex-specific disparity was for cancer of the lung and bronchus, which had begun to decline in men, but continued to increase in women. 
  • Increases in prostate cancer prevalence proportions were inversely related to age.