What You Need to Know about Cancer in Canada

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, cancer, the leading cause of death in Canada, will strike one out of every two Canadians. Approximately 90% of those who develop cancer are aged 50 and over.

The COVID pandemic had a devastating impact on cancer care. In September 2021, CARP surveyed almost 2,200 people from every province in Canada, 60% of whom had a cancer diagnosis or were awaiting one.

Almost one in every three people who received a cancer diagnosis since the pandemic began said their diagnosis was delayed because of the pandemic and one in four said their cancer treatments or surgery had been delayed.  For those who experienced delays, half said that the impact on their mental health was moderate, major or severe.

These pandemic-related issues are in the context of a cancer care system already under strain due to the growth in cancer cases in Canada as the population ages.  The Canadian Cancer Society is projecting that the average annual number of cancer cases will be 79% higher in 2028-2032 than it was in 2003-2007 because of a growing and aging population.

In addition, Canada’s healthcare has been notoriously slow in embracing innovation, and Canadians pay the price in diminished care and health outcomes. Shockingly, Canada ranks 18th out of 20 comparable countries when it comes to new medicine access. It can take us years longer to get access to new medicines already made available in other countries.

In technology, compared to other comparable countries, Canada ranks near the very bottom in number of MRI scanners, CT scanners and radiotherapy equipment per capita.

You can learn more about cancer at Zoomer’s “It’s In You To Fight Cancer”

How is CARP Advocating?

Times of crisis have often fueled change. During the pandemic we saw how Canada was able to speed up its processes for COVID vaccines and treatments, approving them and getting them to Canadians in record time while using innovative ways to do so.

CARP argues that governments can seize the current opportunity to rebuild a stronger cancer system.

CARP is advocating for the government to:

  • Implement catch-up plans to quickly address cancer care backlogs and vaccinate children who missed their routine immunization, including for HPV
  • Allocate more financial resources to support these catch-up plans and meet the future needs of cancer patients given the aging population and associated increased cancer incidence
  • Facilitate timely access to cancer treatments, including immunotherapies that have become the fourth pillar of cancer care alongside surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy.

How Can I Get Involved?

There are many ways to get involved.  Find out more.