Ontario Cancer Statistics 2020 About This Report
This report provides comprehensive information about cancer incidence, mortality, survival and prevalence in Ontario. Two special focus chapters explore long-term projections of cancer incidence and mortality (Chapter 3) and the burden of rare cancers in Ontario (Chapter 4).
What's on this page
Data for this report came from the following sources. For details, see Appendix 1: Data Sources.
- Ontario Cancer Registry
- Other provincial and territorial cancer registries
- Office of the Registrar General for Ontario
- Ontario Ministry of Finance
- Statistics Canada
- Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario Networked Information System (POGONIS) data is provided by the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO), our partner in the development of this report
- This report focuses mainly on cancer in adults, but includes, for the first time, some statistics related to incidence, mortality and survival for selected childhood cancers for ages 0 to 14 years, contributed by our partner, the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO). For additional in-depth statistics on childhood cancer surveillance in Ontario, visit the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario’s POGO Surveillance Report.
- This report includes both actual and estimated statistics, and makes distinctions between them where applicable. Statistics presented in Chapter 1: Estimated Current Cancer Incidence, Chapter 2: Estimated Current Cancer Mortality, and Chapter 3: Estimated Future Burden of Cancer report on projected data. In contrast, the statistics in the rest of the report are actual data.
- This report uses shortened forms of the names of cancer types. See Table TA.5 in Appendix 2: Analysis for the corresponding full names and definitions.
- The Ontario Cancer Registry and POGONIS routinely receive new case information and updates to existing records. As a result, statistics in this report should be considered accurate only at the time of analysis.
- Use caution when comparing the statistics in this report to those in previous reports. The Ontario Cancer Registry adopted new coding rules for multiple primary cancers in 2010 that increased reported incidence for some cancers. For details, see Appendix 1: Data Sources.
- The use of the word “significant” throughout this report refers to statistical significance. See Appendix 2: Analysis for details.
Inclusions and exclusions
Malignant versus non-malignant cancers
- Statistics included in this report generally refer to malignant (i.e., invasive) cancers and not in situ (e.g., ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast). The exceptions are for bladder and brain cancers, and selected cancers among children (0 to 14 years of age).
- Similar to other jurisdictions, Ontario reports carcinoma in situ of the bladder jointly with invasive bladder cancer cases to monitor incidence. Because the Ontario Cancer Registry began routinely registering in situ bladder cancer cases in 2010, in situ cases are excluded in analyses of incidence trends for periods before 2010. They are also excluded from all mortality, survival and prevalence analyses.
- The incidences of both malignant and non-malignant brain and other nervous system tumours are now included in Ontario Cancer Statistics because of the similarity of symptoms and treatment required for these tumours. Non-malignant cases include benign and borderline cases. Because the registry began routinely registering non-malignant brain tumours in 2010, these cases are excluded from analyses of incidence trends for periods before 2010. They are also excluded from all mortality, survival and prevalence analyses.
- This report indicates when the data presented is for non-invasive cancers (other than bladder and brain).
- For childhood cancers, selected benign tumours and neoplasms of indeterminate behaviour (central nervous system and germ cell tumours) are included, as classified according to the International Classification of Childhood Cancer.
Cancer subsites and histological types
- Because the Ontario Cancer Registry does not collect non-melanoma skin cancer (basal and squamous cell) records, this report excludes statistics for these cases, including from statistics for all cancers combined. Non-melanoma skin cancers represent the most common type of cancer in most jurisdictions.
- Statistics on incidence, survival and prevalence are provided for all cancers combined and 23 major cancer types, along with selected anatomical (topographical) subsites and histological subtypes of these cancers, selected based on consultation with clinical experts.
- Statistics on mortality are reported for all cancers combined and the 23 major cancer types only. This is because limited details exist about topography and histology for cancer deaths, which makes it challenging to produce mortality statistics with these details.
- Childhood cancer statistics on incidence, mortality and survival are provided for all cancers combined. Childhood cancer incidence is also reported by cancer type.
Changes in This Edition
Compared with previous editions, this edition of Ontario Cancer Statistics contains some methodological changes:
- Reports incidence counts and rates for non-malignant brain and other nervous system cancers, which include benign and borderline tumours. Cancer registries, including in Ontario, may have incomplete registration of non-malignant brain tumours, so interpret the statistics for these cancers with caution. Because the Ontario Cancer Registry only began routinely collecting data on non-malignant tumours in 2010, this report bases incidence trends exclusively on malignant counts.
- Classifies renal cell carcinomas with ureter tumours instead of kidney tumours, because of their closer histological similarity to the former.
- Reports mucosal and ocular melanomas (non-cutaneous forms of melanoma) in addition to melanomas of the skin.
- Uses an expanded method to project cancer incidence and mortality. Therefore, projections in previous reports for the same years will not be comparable. See Appendix 2: Analysis for details about the projection methods.
- Bases relative survival estimates for the most recent period (2012 to 2016) on cancer counts using the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Program (SEER) multiple primary rules. Estimates for earlier periods, including analyses that compare estimates over time, are based on the more conservative International Association for Research on Cancer/International Association of Cancer Registries (IARC/IACR) multiple primary rules for counting distinct cancer cases. In previous editions of the report, the “all cancers” survival estimates were based on IARC/IACR multiple primary rules.
Citation and Referencing
Citation: The material appearing in this report may be reproduced or copied without permission; however, the following citation to indicate the source must be used:
Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario). Ontario Cancer Statistics 2020. Toronto: Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario); 2020.
Key title: Ontario cancer statistics (Online)
ISBN 978-1-4868-3681-9 HTML Ontario Cancer Statistics
Many of the tables and charts in this report contain information derived from the Ontario Cancer Registry and POGONIS. While Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) and the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario made every effort to ensure the completeness, accuracy and currency of this information at the time of writing this report, this information does change over time, as does our interpretation of it.
Please do not use this information, either alone or with other information, to identify an individual. This includes attempting to decrypt information that is encrypted, attempting to identify an individual based on encrypted information and attempting to identify an individual based on prior knowledge.
Authors and Contributors
Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)
Aniq Anam, Surveillance Program
Dr. Prithwish De, Surveillance Program and Ontario Cancer Registry
Zeinab El-Masri, Surveillance Program
Tanya Navaneelan, Health Technology and Information Management (formerly with Surveillance Program)
Bogdan Pylypenko, Ontario Cancer Registry
Amidu Raifu, Surveillance Program
Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario
Dr. Mohammad Agha, Research and Health Analytics
Nicole Bradley, Health Analytics
Jacqui DeBique, Communications
Bruna DiMonte, Privacy and Data Management
Dr. David Hodgson, Research and Health Analytics
Dr. Felicia Leung, Health Analytics
Thank you to the following individuals for their contributions to the development of this report:
Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario)
Ontario Cancer Registry
Mary Jane King
Xiao Dong Ma
Other Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) staff and advisors
Dr. Chamila Adhihetty
Dr. Anna Chiarelli
Dr. Gail Darling
Dr. Andrea Eisen
Dr. Sarah Ferguson
Dr. Tony Finelli
Dr. Katharina Forster
Harsha Kasi Vishwanathan
Dr. Erin Kennedy
Dr. John Kim
Dr. Rachel Kupets
Dr. Michelle Lloyd
Dr. James Perry
Dr. Aaron Pollett
Dr. Laura Seliske
Dr. Jill Tinmouth
Dr. Frances Wright
Carol DeSantis, Surveillance Research, American Cancer Society
Dr. Eric Holowaty, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario
POGONIS data managers and local teams at the 5 tertiary hospitals in Ontario with specialized childhood cancer programs:
- Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre
- McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences
- The Hospital for Sick Children
- Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Kingston General Hospital Site
POGO gratefully acknowledges funding support from the Ontario Ministry of Health. The views expressed about the childhood cancer information featured in the report are those of POGO and do not necessarily reflect those of the Province of Ontario.
The surveillance team welcomes comments and suggestions. To provide feedback, or to be notified about future editions of this report or related information products, send us an email.
To submit suggestions or questions specific to childhood cancer, please contact POGO by email.
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