How Many Canadians Suffer From Cancer?

By Victoria Simpson on June 4 2020 in Science

Edmond Odette Cancer Centre – associated with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Image credit: Nephron/Wikimedia.org
Edmond Odette Cancer Centre – associated with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Image credit: Nephron/Wikimedia.org
  • Prostate cancer is the most common type of cancer in men.
  • Skin cancer and breast cancer are the most common types of cancer in women.
  • The most common type of childhood cancer is leukemia.

Cancer claims millions of lives worldwide each year. There are more than 100 different types of cancer, and some are deadlier than others, but all present patients with a disease that requires focused medical attention. Cancer weakens the body by invading your organs, and preventing them from functioning properly. The disease causes your cells to divide uncontrollably and abnormally, creating the potential for tumors to form.

If cancer has run its course for long enough, it incapacitates your physical system to such a degree that the body shuts down, causing death. 

It is estimated that almost half of the entire Canadian population will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, 225,800 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in Canada in 2020, and 83,300 people will die of the disease in the same year. 

About 45% of all men in the country and 43% of women are predicted to develop the disease at some point in their lifetime. 

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada following heart disease, and it is responsible for 30% of all deaths in the nation. Still curious? Here is a look at the disease in more detail. 

Childhood Cancers

A child suffering from cancer. Image credit: Vyshnova/Shutterstock.com

Cancer is a disease that largely targets people who are over the age of 50. It is true that it can occur at any age, however, and there are some types that actually affect children more specifically. Some of the more common types of childhood cancer include leukemia, brain and spinal cord tumors, Wilms tumor, neuroblastoma, lymphoma, rhabdomyosarcoma, retinoblastoma, and bone cancer. 

Leukemia along with brain and spinal cord tumors account for about 54% of all childhood cancers.

Why do kids get cancer? According to the American Cancer Society, most childhood cancers are not influenced by environmental causes. These can take years to have an effect, and so they are usually not considered applicable to kids. It is thought that changes in a person’s genes can cause cancer to develop. Some of your genes control how your cells grow, divide, and die. Other genes repair mistakes in a cell’s DNA. Scientists think that these could possibly play a part in childhood cancers. Most cases, however, according to the American Cancer Society, are likely the result of random events that have no outside cause. 

Men And Cancer 

Men who develop cancer most often have prostate, colorectal, lung, or skin cancer. Apart from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common type in men. Men’s chances of developing this type of cancer rise with age, and African American men as well as Caribbean men with African ancestry have the highest risk of developing it. In general, men as well as women, are encouraged to not smoke, and to be of a healthy weight. It is important to exercise regularly, eat fruits and vegetables, limit alcohol intake, and protect your skin from sun damage in order to remain as healthy as possible.

It is also imperative that you know your family health history, and that you inform your doctor of diseases your family members have had, in order to more accurately assess your health risks. Getting regular medical checkups and screenings can also aid in the early detection of cancer. 

Women And Cancer

Women can face many of the same types of cancer as men, but they also obviously face different threats. Breast cancer as well as colorectal, endometrial, lung, cervical, ovarian, and skin cancer are the types of this disease that most readily affect women.  

Skin cancers top the list for women, followed by breast cancer. As with prostate cancer in men, the risk of developing breast cancer rises as you age. Some women are at a greater risk than others, when it comes to developing breast cancer, due to a number of factors. Experts recommend that starting at age 40, women undergo breast cancer screening each year, and begin yearly mammograms (an x-ray of the breast tissue) at age 45. 

Treatments 

There are currently several ways that cancer is treated medically. If you are diagnosed with cancer you may undergo surgery to have a tumor removed. You may also be treated with chemotherapy. This is the use of chemical drugs to kill off any cancer cells in your body. Additionally, some patients undergo radiation therapy to be rid of cancer. This treatment uses high powered energy beams to kill off cancer cells, with machines that are placed either inside or outside your body.

Other cancer treatments can consist of a bone marrow transplant, immunotherapy which uses your own immune system to fight off the cancer, hormone therapy, drug therapy, cryoabalation which kills cancer with cold temperatures, and radiofrequency ablation. Sometimes cancer patients are asked if they wish to participate in clinical trials in which novel ways of treating cancer are tested, offering additional forms of treatment.

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