Breast Cancer Statistics

Number Two Cause of Death: USA

Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. Breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women. Breast cancer occurs in men also, but the number of cases is small.

Source: National Cancer Institute

Number One Cause of Early Death: Canada

TBS Editor's note: Although these statistics don't speak directly to breast cancer , I believe that we need to see the bigger picture for what it is. The line in the following release that jumps out for me is Experts project that the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed each year in Canada will increase by 60 percent over the next two decades. How sobering is that.

This disease is robbing Canadians of precious years of life and productivity, says Heather Logan, Director, Cancer Control Policy, Canadian Cancer Society. In 2000, more than 950,000 potential years of life were lost to Canadians because of cancer.

Cancer is also robbing Canada 's economy. Of the total indirect costs of illness in Canada in 1998 ($75 billion), cancer accounted for $11.8 billion (16 percent), ranking second overall. Cancer was responsible for almost one-third of premature death costs (32 percent); reflecting the fact that cancer is the leading cause of early death in Canada. Indirect costs include estimates of the value of life lost due to premature death and the value of activity days lost due to disability. This year's Canadian Cancer Statistics features a section on the economic burden of cancer in Canada.

The 2004 statistics also show that while a person's individual risk of developing cancer remains relatively stable, the number of new cancer cases, and deaths, has been rising steadily as the Canadian population increases and ages. Expert's project that the number of new cases of cancer diagnosed each year in Canada will increase by 60 percent over the next two decades.

Trends suggest that by 2010 cancer will be the leading cause of death in Canada , says Dr. Barbara Whylie, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Cancer Society. This disease is taking a huge toll on Canadians personally. It's straining our health care system and it's going to get worse as our population ages. Canada urgently needs to implement a national coordinated strategy to fight cancer.

In Canada, we are fortunate to have dedicated comprehensive cancer agencies and programs that give Canadians access to the best treatments and care, as well as an extensive network of charitable and non-governmental organizations to help Canadians with cancer, and their families, cope with the impacts of the disease, says the Honorable Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Health, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister Responsible for Official Languages. Effective cancer control is a complex process that requires the collaborative efforts of all cancer stake holders across a wide variety of sectors. The Government of Canada is working with non-governmental organizations and provincial and territorial governments to help reduce incidence, illness and death through the development of a cancer control strategy for Canada.

Whylie says that the need for a national strategy to fight cancer was identified in the late 1990's by four groups the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Association of Provincial Cancer Agencies, Health Canada and the National Cancer Institute of Canada. These groups spearheaded the creation of a Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control to encourage collaborative action. The goals of the strategy are to the reduce risk of developing cancer; reduce the risk of dying of cancer, and to improve cancer care (screening, treatment, quality of life and access to services).

The rising number of new cancer cases presents a major challenge to Canada's health care system, says Whylie. It's imperative that we start to implement a strategy as soon as possible so the cancer crisis in Canada can be defused.

Early death or premature death is defined by calculating the years that people would have lived if they had not died prematurely from cancer, based on a life expectancy of 75.

Source: The Canadian Cancer Society Media Release

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Breast Cancer Statistics