September 12th, 2019

// Canada leading developed countries in survival for lung and colon cancer

Canada leading developed countries in survival for lung and colon cancer

New data shows where Canada ranks internationally in survival for seven types of cancer

TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2019 /CNW/ - Canada has among the highest survival rates for lung cancer and colon cancer compared to other developed countries, according to new data published this month in The Lancet Oncology.

Data were gathered by the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP) and are the most recent collection of survival statistics for seven types of cancer in seven countries: Canada, Australia, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom. 3.9 million cancer cases were collected from cancer registries in 21 jurisdictions across the participating countries since 1995, including over 762,000 Canadian cancer cases from eight* provinces. 

The data show that Canada is among the world leaders in survival for most of the seven cancers observed, except for esophageal cancer and ovarian cancer. While Canada's overall average survival generally compares well, there is often more variation among the provinces than across the countries in this study. 

The 2019-2029 Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control and its action plans acknowledge this variation in survival rates across Canada and strive to promote equity of access to cancer care and quality cancer care for all Canadians.

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) participates in the international study through chairing the program board and funding the collection and analysis of all contributing* provinces' data from their cancer registries for the Canadian data included in the ICBP paper. 

Other findings include:

  • Overall, survival rates for the seven types of cancer studied are generally higher in Canada, Australia and Norway. 
  • For all countries, survival for all types of observed cancer has increased across the 20-year reporting period. 
  • Five-year survival from colon cancer has continued to rise considerably in all participating countries. 
  • Pancreatic cancer continues to have among the lowest survival rates of all cancers in all participating countries.

Read the full report.

This past June, the Partnership released the modernized Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control. The Strategy is a 10-year roadmap to deliver world class cancer care to all Canadians, families and caregivers affected by the disease. The Strategy details necessary actions that will improve equity of access to high-quality care, and actions to ensure we have a sustainable healthcare system for the future. The Partnership is engaging with leading countries from the ICBP report, such as Australia, to learn more about their models of care and adapting approaches for Canada.  


"It's vital that Canadian researchers as well as cancer and health system leaders have data to compare our results in cancer treatment to other, similar health systems around the world. The ICBP continues to be an important collaborative body that shines a light on where countries and provinces are succeeding and where improvements are necessary to address this challenging disease," said Dr. Heather Bryant, Senior Scientific Lead, Population Health at the Partnership. "The Partnership has recently refreshed Canada's cancer strategy and working alongside our provincial and territorial partners, we will use the ICBP data to identify where action is needed the most in order to continue to see increasing cancer survival rates."

"Participation in this international research by all provinces has been gratifying, and reinforces the importance of Canada's cancer registries," said Dr. Geoff Porter, Expert Lead, Clinical Care at the Partnership. "In providing Canadian researchers and health system decision makers with information on cancer survival across our country, the ICBP data can point to specific areas of high performance and others where specific attention may be required. Studies of this kind have also provided an opportunity to focus on the importance of specific registry practices to further enhance comparability, as well as serving to maintain and enhance the community of cancer registries in Canada."

*Quebec contributed data, but it is excluded as cancer survival rates are only available from 2000 onward (analysis starts at 1995); Newfoundland contributed data but it is excluded as cancer survival rates are only available from 2005 onward; the territories did not contribute data.

About the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership 
The ICBP, led by Cancer Research UK, is an international partnership of clinicians, academics and policymakers seeking to understand variations in cancer survival between developed countries. 
The ICBP funds and produces high-impact, peer reviewed publications showing international cancer survival variation and differences in awareness and beliefs about cancer and the role of primary care in cancer diagnosis. The ICBP encourages other researchers to maximize data collected by the ICBP to further unpack factors that may be causing this observed survival variation. To learn more about what data is available, please contact the ICBP Programme Management team at

About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer 
As the steward of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control (the Strategy), the Partnership works with Canada's cancer community to take action to ensure fewer people get cancer, more people survive cancer and those living with the disease have a better quality of life. This work is guided by the Strategy, which was refreshed for 2019 to 2029 and will help drive measurable change for all Canadians affected by cancer. The Strategy includes five priorities which will tackle the most pressing challenges in cancer control as well as distinct First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples-specific priorities and actions reflecting Canada's commitment to reconciliation. The Partnership will oversee the implementation of the priorities in collaboration with organizations and individuals on the front lines of cancer care – the provinces and territories, health-care professionals, people living with cancer and those who care for them, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, governments and organizations, and its funder Health Canada. Learn more about the Partnership and the refreshed Strategy at   

SOURCE Canadian Partnership Against Cancer


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