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Statistical Reports

Ch 2: Estimated current cancer mortality

Data Type:
Publication Series: Under Review
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Ontario Cancer Statistics 2020 Ch 2: Estimated Current Cancer Mortality

Mortality measures the number of deaths caused by cancer. This chapter reports projections for the years 2017 to 2020.

What's on this page

 

Mortality Overview

While the number of deaths (mortality) from all cancers in Ontario has increased over the past 3 decades, the mortality rate has declined. In general, cancer mortality is affected by:

  • the incidence of cancer
  • cancer survival
  • socio-demographic factors
  • the availability of and effectiveness of early detection and screening for cancer in extending life
  • the availability of and access to effective treatment for cancer
 

Mortality Counts and Rates

In 2020, an estimated 30,975 people in Ontario are expected to die from cancer (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). That represents an age-standardized mortality rate (ASMR) of 178.0 out of every 100,000 people (Figure 2.1). While the number of cancer deaths has increased each year since 1981, the ASMR peaked in 1988 and has decreased every year since 1999.

Notes:

  1. Rates are per 100,000 and standardized to the age distribution of the 2011 Canadian population.
  2. The shaded area indicates projected data for the years 2017 through 2020.

Analysis by: Surveillance, Analytics and Informatics, Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)
Data source: Ontario Cancer Registry (December 2018), Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)

Data for Figure 2.1 Projected mortality counts and age-standardized rates for all cancers combined, Ontario, 1981 to 2020
Year Deaths Mortality rate
1981 14938 249.8
1982 15402 250.1
1983 15960 253.2
1984 16546 256
1985 17230 259.7
1986 17339 254
1987 18007 255.8
1988 18873 261
1989 19026 256.3
1990 19089 249.9
1991 19616 251.2
1992 20010 249.1
1993 20547 249.4
1994 21302 253.5
1995 21427 249.3
1996 21665 245.7
1997 21666 240.6
1998 21932 237.8
1999 22655 240.6
2000 23158 240.5
2001 23664 240.1
2002 23984 236.1
2003 24275 232.2
2004 24665 228.8
2005 24930 225.2
2006 24971 219.1
2007 25370 216.3
2008 25794 213.8
2009 26075 210
2010 26585 208.2
2011 27127 206.6
2012 27442 202.3
2013 27634 197.2
2014 28075 194.4
2015 28291 190.4
2016 29074 190
2017 29534 186.1
2018 30008 183.2
2019 30451 180.3
2020 30975 178

Note: Rates are per 100,000 and standardized to the age distribution of the 2011 Canadian population.
Analysis by: Surveillance, Analytics and Informatics, Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)
Data source: Ontario Cancer Registry (December 2018), Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)

Mortality by Sex

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Among males, cancer is expected to cause 16,066 deaths in 2020. This will result in an ASMR of 205.0 per 100,000 (Figure 2.2). The numbers are expected to be lower for females, with 14,909 expected deaths, for an ASMR of 157.6 per 100,000. Males are projected to account for 51.9% of all cancer deaths in 2020. This number has decreased slightly over time. In 1981, males accounted for 54.2% of all cancer deaths.

Notes:

  1. Rates are per 100,000 and standardized to the age distribution of the 2011 Canadian population.
  2. The shaded area indicates projected data for the years 2017 through 2020.

Analysis by: Surveillance, Analytics and Informatics, Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)
Data source: Ontario Cancer Registry (December 2018), Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)

Data for Figure 2.2 Projected mortality counts and age-standardized rates by sex for all cancers combined, Ontario, 1981 to 2020
Year Deaths-males Mortality rate-males Deaths-females Mortality rate-females
1981 8094 323.5 6844 202.8
1982 8338 323.4 7064 203.3
1983 8680 330.4 7280 204.2
1984 8941 331 7605 207.6
1985 9171 333.1 8059 214
1986 9366 328.9 7973 206.7
1987 9704 330.3 8303 208.8
1988 10312 342.9 8561 208.9
1989 10287 332.8 8739 207.7
1990 10349 323.2 8740 202
1991 10510 323.7 9106 205.4
1992 10799 321.8 9211 203.1
1993 10934 317.1 9613 206
1994 11423 324.6 9879 207.7
1995 11359 316 10068 206.6
1996 11421 309.5 10244 205.2
1997 11636 308.2 10030 196.6
1998 11584 300.4 10348 198.1
1999 11938 300.2 10717 201.2
2000 12118 300.2 11040 202.4
2001 12402 300 11262 201.3
2002 12599 295 11385 198.3
2003 12700 288.1 11575 196.4
2004 12816 281.2 11849 195
2005 12842 273.9 12088 193.4
2006 13124 271.4 11847 184.7
2007 13169 262 12201 184.5
2008 13409 259.9 12385 183
2009 13667 256.2 12409 178.3
2010 13839 251.8 12746 178.3
2011 14188 249.9 12939 176.3
2012 14360 243.5 13082 173.5
2013 14465 236.5 13169 169.5
2014 14799 234.1 13276 166.2
2015 14694 224.9 13597 166
2016 15136 224.4 13938 165.5
2017 15375 217.8 14159 162.7
2018 15591 213.1 14417 161
2019 15782 208.4 14669 159.3
2020 16066 205 14909 157.6

Note: Rates are per 100,000 and standardized to the age distribution of the 2011 Canadian population.
Analysis by: Surveillance, Analytics and Informatics, Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)
Data source: Ontario Cancer Registry (December 2018), Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)

Mortality by Cancer Type

In 2020, the leading cause of cancer death is expected to be lung cancer, projected to account for 23.0% of all cancer deaths (7,124 deaths). This will be followed by colorectal (3,194 deaths or 10.3%) and pancreatic cancers. Despite having a much lower incidence, pancreatic cancer is projected to cause more deaths (2,152 deaths or 6.9 %) than female breast cancer (1,980 deaths or 6.4%).

Despite having a much lower incidence, pancreatic cancer is projected to cause more deaths than female breast cancer.

Lung cancer will also be the leading cause of cancer death for both males and females, although the ASMR is projected to be significantly higher for males (45.7 per 100,000) than females (36.4 per 100,000).

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For all of the cancers listed in Table 2.1, the ASMR is expected to be higher for males than females. The higher male mortality rates can be attributed to generally higher incidence rates among males for every cancer that occurs in both sexes, which is due to:

  • a higher prevalence of risk factors such as obesity, alcohol and tobacco use among males[1]
  • greater occupational exposure to carcinogens[2,3]
  • lower use of medical services compared with females[4-6]
  • the influence of sex hormones[7-9]

The biggest differences in cancer mortality between males and females in 2020 are expected to be for:

  • bladder, and oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers, for which the male ASMR will be about 3 times the female rate
  • kidney and liver cancers, and melanoma, for which the male ASMR will be more than twice the female rate
Table 2.1 Projected mortality counts and age-standardized rates by cancer type and sex, Ontario, 2020
Cancer type Both sexes - deaths Both sexes - ASMR Males - deaths Males - ASMR Females - deaths Females - ASMR
All cancers 30,975 178.0 16,066 205.0 14,909 157.6
Bladder 982 5.5 706 9.2 276 2.7
Brain 945 5.8 521 6.8 424 4.9
Breast (female) 1,980 21.9 n/a n/a 1,980 21.9
Cervix 185 2.3 n/a n/a 185 2.3
Colorectal 3,194 18.3 1,694 21.8 1,500 15.4
Esophagus 913 5.3 716 9.0 197 2.0
Hodgkin lymphoma 42 0.3 25 0.3 17 0.2
Kidney 669 3.8 447 5.7 222 2.3
Larynx 130 0.7 109 1.4 21 0.2
Leukemia 1,212 6.9 708 9.1 505 5.2
Liver 1,454 8.4 916 11.5 538 5.7
Lung 7,124 40.5 3,648 45.7 3,476 36.4
Melanoma 580 3.4 378 4.9 202 2.2
Myeloma 620 3.5 349 4.4 271 2.8
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 1,110 6.4 630 8.1 480 4.9
Oral cavity & pharynx 503 2.9 348 4.4 155 1.6
Ovary 723 7.9 n/a n/a 723 7.9
Pancreas 2,152 12.3 1,084 13.7 1,068 11.1
Prostate 1,670 21.7 1,670 21.7 n/a n/a
Stomach 788 4.6 481 6.2 307 3.3
Testis 14 0.2 14 0.2 n/a n/a
Thyroid 95 0.5 47 0.6 48 0.5
Uterus 559 6.0 n/a n/a 559 6.0

Abbreviations:

  • ASMR means age-standardized mortality rate.
  • N/a means not applicable.

Note: Rates are per 100,000 and standardized to the age distribution of the 2011 Canadian population.
Analysis by: Surveillance, Analytics and Informatics, Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)
Data source: Ontario Cancer Registry (December 2018), Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)

 

Mortality by Age

In 2020, the highest cancer mortality rate is expected to be in the 80 years and older age group, followed by the 60 to 79 age group. The latter group, however, will account for an estimated 50.5% of all deaths that year compared with 36.0% for the older age group (Table 2.2).

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Deaths from cancer before the age of 40 will continue to be uncommon in 2020, with only 399 deaths expected. This represents 1.3% of all cancer deaths, or a rate of 5.7 deaths per 100,000 people.

Although projected mortality rates increase substantially beginning at ages 60 to 79, the exceptions are for breast and lung cancers. The rates for these cancers begin to increase rapidly much earlier, in the 40 to 59 age group.

Table 2.2 Projected mortality counts and age-specific rates by cancer type and age group, Ontario, 2020
Cancer type Ages 0 - 39 years Ages 40 - 59 years Ages 60 - 79 years Ages 80 years or older
Deaths Age-specific rate Deaths Age-specific rate Deaths Age-specific rate Deaths Age-specific rate
All cancers 399 5.7 3,797 97.0 15,636 530.1 11,143 1,617.5
Bladder ** ** 49 1.3 401 13.6 531 77.1
Brain 75 1.1 231 5.9 490 16.6 149 21.6
Breast (female) 57 1.6 442 22.2 843 54.8 638 155.5
Cervix 17 0.5 71 3.6 69 4.5 28 6.8
Colorectal 30 0.4 368 9.4 1,452 49.2 1,344 195.1
Esophagus ** ** 143 3.7 515 17.5 250 36.3
Hodgkin lymphoma 6 0.1 6 0.2 20 0.7 10 1.5
Kidney ** ** 87 2.2 335 11.4 243 35.3
Larynx 0 0.0 12 0.3 73 2.5 45 6.5
Leukemia 44 0.6 104 2.7 558 18.9 506 73.5
Liver 18 0.3 183 4.7 838 28.4 415 60.2
Lung 15 0.2 702 17.9 4,256 144.3 2,151 312.2
Melanoma 18 0.3 92 2.4 277 9.4 193 28.0
Myeloma 0 0.0 59 1.5 330 11.2 231 33.5
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma 15 0.2 117 3.0 546 18.5 432 62.7
Oral cavity & pharynx ** ** 93 2.4 282 9.6 124 18.0
Ovary 10 0.3 128 6.4 388 25.2 197 48.0
Pancreas 9 0.1 264 6.7 1,177 39.9 702 101.9
Prostate 0 0.0 53 2.8 672 47.7 945 339.1
Stomach 12 0.2 131 3.3 381 12.9 262 38.0
Testis ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Thyroid 0 0.0 12 0.3 50 1.7 33 4.8
Uterus ** ** 77 3.9 326 21.2 153 37.3

Symbol: ** Suppressed due to small case count (less than 6)
Note: Rates are per 100,000 and standardized to the age distribution of the 2011 Canadian population.

Analysis by: Surveillance, Analytics and Informatics, Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)
Data source: Ontario Cancer Registry (December 2018), Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)

For more information on cancer mortality in Ontario, including data on more cancer types and trends over time, see Chapter 6: Cancer Mortality Rates and Trends.

 

References

  1. Cancer Care Ontario. Prevention System Quality Index: health equity. Toronto: Queen’s Printer for Ontario; 2018.
  2. Marinaccio A, Corfiati M, Binazzi A, Di Marzio D, Scarselli A, Ferrante P, et al.; ReNaM Working Group. The epidemiology of malignant mesothelioma in women: gender differences and modalities of asbestos exposure. Occup Environ Med. 2018 Apr;75(4):254-62.
  3. Lemen RA. Mesothelioma from asbestos exposures: epidemiologic patterns and impact in the United States. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2016;19(5-6):250-65.
  4. Bertakis KD. The influence of gender on the doctor-patient interaction. Patient Educ Couns. 2009 Sep;76(3):356-60.
  5. Bertakis KD, Azari R, Helms LJ, Callahan EJ, Robbins JA. Gender differences in the utilization of health care services. J Fam Pract. 2000 Feb;49(2):147-52.
  6. Verbrugge LM. Sex differentials in health. Public Health Rep. 1982 Sep-Oct;97(5):417-37.
  7. Bouman A, Heineman MJ, Faas MM. Sex hormones and the immune response in humans. Hum Reprod Update. 2005 Jul-Aug;11(4):411-23.