Canada leading developed countries in survival for lung and colon cancer

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 61, No. 9, November 2019, Pages 355-356 News

Canada has among the highest survival rates for lung cancer and colon cancer compared to other developed countries, according to new data published 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. There were 3.9 million cancer cases 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 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. To learn more about what data are available, contact the ICBP Programme Management team at

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) 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 ICBP paper. Read the full report at

This past June, the CPAC released the modernized Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, a roadmap to deliver world-class cancer care to all Canadians, families, and caregivers affected by the disease. The Strategy and its action plans acknowledge this variation in survival rates across Canada and strive to promote equity of access to quality cancer care for all Canadians. The Strategy also details the actions necessary to improve equity of care and ensure we have a sustainable health care system for the future. The CPAC 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.

As the steward of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, the CPAC 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 that will tackle the most pressing challenges in cancer control as well as distinct priorities and actions reflecting Canada’s commitment to reconciliation with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. The CPAC will oversee 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 CPAC and the refreshed Strategy at

. Canada leading developed countries in survival for lung and colon cancer. BCMJ, Vol. 61, No. 9, November, 2019, Page(s) 355-356 - News.

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