6,800 Manitobans estimated to be diagnosed with cancer this year: report
The report by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada also found the incidence of cancer among Manitoba women is higher than the national average. (File Image)
Published Wednesday, October 19, 2016 9:24AM CST
A new report shows 6,800 Manitoba families will face a cancer diagnosis this year, 100 more than last year and 900 more than four years ago.
The report by the Canadian Cancer Society, the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada also found the incidence of cancer among Manitoba women is higher than the national average.
Meantime, Manitoba men have a similar incidence rate as in other provinces, the report said.
The report also found the death rate for all cancers combined is higher in Manitoba than the national average. It said among men, higher death rates linked to prostate and colorectal cancer are offset by higher survival rates for lung cancer.
It said among women, higher death rates are associated with breast and lung cancer.
In addition, four kinds of cancer will account for half the cancer cases in Manitoba in 2016. They are:
• Colorectal: 970 (new cases expected this year)
• Lung: 920
• Breast: 880
• Prostate: 710
Mouth, throat cancers on the rise
Mouth and throat cancers caused by the human papilloma virus have been rising steadily over the past two decades, with a “dramatic” increase among Canadian men, the report also found.
Researchers and doctors have known for decades that certain strains of HPV – the most commonly sexually transmitted disease in Canada and the world -- cause cervical cancer. But the latest Canadian cancer statistics show that only 35 per cent of HPV cancers are cervical, and that about 33 per cent of HPV cancers occur in males.
The latest data show that about one-third of all HPV cancers in Canada are found in the mouth and throat.
Between 1992 and 2012, the incidence of HPV-related mouth and throat cancers increased 56 per cent in males and 17 per cent in females.
In 1992, the age-standardized incidence rate (or ASIR) of those cancers was 4.1 per 100,000 Canadian males. In 2012, it was 6.4 per 100,000 males. In females, the rate was 1.2 in 1992 and 1.4 in 2012.
Calls for more widespread HPV immunization
The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that nearly 4,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with an HPV-caused cancer (that can include cervical, vaginal, anal and oral) and about 1,200 will die from it in 2016.
The society is focusing its messaging on cancer prevention and informing the public about the HPV vaccine. The two HPV vaccines approved by Health Canada are Gardasil and Cervarix.
HPV immunization is already available through publicly-funded school programs across the country, starting between Grades 4 and 7, up to age 13. But while the vaccine is offered to girls in all provinces and territories, only six provinces -- Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec – also offer it to boys.
The Canadian Cancer Society is calling on the remaining provinces and territories to expand HPV immunization to boys.
Robert Nuttall, the society’s assistant director of health policy, also said that adults should talk to their doctors to see whether they can benefit from the HPV vaccine. However, there is currently no scientific evidence showing the benefits of HPV vaccines in older adults.
In Canada, Gardasil is approved for use in females aged 9 to 45, and males aged 9 to 26. Cervarix is approved for use in females between the ages of 10 and 25, but is currently not approved for boys and young men.
The vaccine works best in people who have not been exposed to HPV. That’s why it is given to school-aged children and teens as a preventative measure.
It will be a while before scientists can conclusively determine whether HPV vaccines can prevent throat and neck cancers, since it can take many years for an HPV infection to cause malignancies.
In the meantime, Dr. Seikaly says it’s important for Canadians to understand this disease could happen to anybody, because the modes of HPV transmission aren’t fully understood.
“They need to understand the signs and symptoms of it. And those include pain in your throat, difficulty swallowing, neck masses, ulcers in your mouth and throat,” he said. “And they need to make sure during their physical that doctors do look in their mouth and their throat.”
Early symptoms of mouth and throat cancers can often be vague, but they also include white or red patches inside the mouth or on the lips, persistent earaches and loose teeth.
As a dental hygienist who was also a cancer patient, Cicci urges regular exams of the mouth and throat during dental visits.
“What I try to do is to break down the stigma that is attached to (HPV),” she said. “The fact of the matter is, while most of the time it is still being sexually transmitted … we don’t know all the modes of transmission.”
Other notable statistics from the 2016 cancer report:
• Cancer is still the leading cause of death in Canada, causing 30 per cent of all deaths.
• An estimated 2 in 5 Canadians are expected to develop cancer in their lifetime, and an estimated 1 in 4 will die from cancer.
• An estimated 202,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer, and 78,800 will die of cancer in 2016.
• Lung, colorectal, breast and pancreatic cancer are the most common causes of cancer death, with lung cancer accounting for more than 25 per cent of all cancer deaths.
• More than 60 per cent of Canadians diagnosed with cancer today will survive at least five years. But the survival rates vary greatly depending on the type of cancer involved.
- With files from Sonja Puzic, CTV’s medical specialist Avis Favaro and producer Elizabeth St. Philip