OTTAWA, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Canada's cancer death rate is decreasing, according to data released on Wednesday by the Canadian Cancer Society.
Between 1988 and 2007, death rates caused by cancer dropped by 21 percent in men and 9 percent in women, resulting in almost 100, 000 lives saved in the period.
Declines in death rates were seen in all four major cancers - lung, colorectal, breast and prostate - which still account for 53 percent of newly diagnosed cancers in both men and women.
The smaller decline in female death rate is due to an increase in lung cancer deaths among women and is believed to be the result of women's smoking rates not beginning to decline until the 1980s. By contrast, smoking rates among men began to drop two decades before and is believed to be a significant reason why cancer death rate for men dropped by 30 percent between 1988 and 2007.
More Canadians die of lung cancer every year than the combined deaths from breast, colorectal and prostate cancer, and it's the leading cause of cancer death among women, indicated the data.
Although smoking rates among Canadians has fallen from 50 percent in 1965 to 17 percent in 2010, it still accounts for 27 percent of all cancer deaths.
The Canadian Cancer Society called for several tobacco-control measures, including a reduction in the number of retail locations authorized to sell tobacco.
The society also attributed declining cancer death rates to improvements in screening and early detection, such as the fecal occult blood test for colorectal cancer, the Pap test for cervical cancer and screening mammography for breast cancer.
This year's Canadian cancer statistics also show a rise in the incidence of such rare cancers as thyroid, liver and kidney - the latter two may be attributed to obesity and, in the case of liver cancer, growing immigration from countries where hepatitis B and C virus infections are more common as well as alcohol abuse. Thyroid cancer, the most rapidly increasing cancer, may be the result of detecting earlier stage, asymptomatic thyroid cancers through more frequent diagnostic testing, the society said.
An estimated 186,400 new cases of cancer - excluding 81,300 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer - and 75,700 deaths from cancer are expected to occur in Canada in 2012.