Death from cancer on a steady decline

Mortality rates for cancer fell 2.8 per cent yearly between 2004 and 2010, according to new reports from Alberta Health Services.

Mortality rates for cancer fell 2.8 per cent yearly between 2004 and 2010, according to new reports from Alberta Health Services.

“That, I think without a doubt, is due to our improved treatment and care that we’ve been able to offer. I think that’s a huge source of hope as well,” Dr. Paul Grundy, AHS Cancer Care senior vice-president and senior medical director, said on Monday when the 2010 Report on Cancer Statistics in Alberta and the Alberta Cancer Registry Report were released.

In 2010, a total of 5,526 Albertans died from the disease and cancer accounted for 27 per cent of deaths — the second leading cause of death after circulatory system disease.

Grundy said people sometimes wonder if the money they keep donating towards cancer research is making a difference.

“Actually, there’s a lot happening and here’s some bottom-line proof. Fewer people are dying of cancer and people are living long who do have cancer. That’s got to be encouraging.”

Later this year, radiation treatment will be available for the first time in Red Deer. The expanded Central Alberta Cancer Centre is expected to open in October or November at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Grundy said it means Central Albertans will have better access to treatment and clinical studies.

“Our estimate is about 80 per cent of patients in Central Zone will be able to receive their full cancer treatment planning and treatment in Red Deer. But there will be about 20 per cent of patients who will have more rare diseases, which will require more complicated treatment, which we just can’t reproduce in Red Deer.”

Two radiation oncologists have been recruited and will arrive in Red Deer in the spring.

Grundy said there is no significant difference in cancer statistics based on where people live the province.

In 2010, the provincial cancer rate for males was 413 per 100,000 and the mortality rate was 158.

The rate of cancer for females was 348 per 100,000, with a mortality rate of 118.

For 35 to 64 year olds, cancer accounted for 37 per cent of deaths — more than circulatory and digestive system disease combined.

“Our rates may be going down, but when you adjust for the age of the population and for population size, the numbers are up,” Grundy said.

In 2010, 15,232 cancer cases were diagnosed in Alberta.

The most commonly diagnosed cancers were breast, prostrate, colorectal and lung.

Lung cancer was the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women.

Grundy said by 2030, cancer cases are expected to double due to the aging and growing population.

“If we’re going to be able to manage this, we really have to do a better job at preventing more cancers because it’s going to be hard to manage that many people with cancer with our resources.”

He said cancer prevention programs have made a difference.

“We believe that we’re seeing the positive impact now of decreasing lung cancer rates of men from the 1990s. The downside of that is the figures show the lung cancer rate for women is still going up.

“I think the men’s statistic proves we can make a difference here and the women’s statistic is saying we’re not doing enough yet.”

But Albertans must also do their part, Grundy said.

“I can change my risk factors for cancer, but I can’t change yours. Only you can do that.”

szielinski@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Attendees of the Downtown Red Deer Market, which runs every Wednesday during the summer on Little Gaetz Avenue, have complained about the lack of public washrooms. (Photo contributed by Red Deer Downtown Business Association)
Portable washrooms to be set up in downtown Red Deer this summer

More data is needed before the city invests in a permanent structure

A survey of 3,083 Red Deer residents was done by an online platform on behalf of the City of Red Deer, generating about 11,607 comments.. (File photo)
Red Deerians speak out about COVID-19 concerns in survey

More than 3,000 city residents were surveyed

A Calgary energy company's request for a tax break was turned down by Lacombe County. About $31,000 was owed by a company that went bankrupt and Silverleaf Resources Inc. bought some of their assets.
(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe County turns down oil company’s tax break request

Silverleaf Resources Inc. hoped for break on $31,000 in back taxes

RCMP recovered hundreds of stolen items, including Bibles and historical items stolen from the Bowden Pioneer Museum.
(Photo from RCMP)
Museum artifacts among hundreds of stolen items recovered by RCMP in central Alberta

Second World War and other historical and religious items recovered

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly (44) reach for the rebound from Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) during second-period NHL action in Edmonton on Monday, March 1, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman watches his solo home run during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Monday, March 1, 2021, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) clears the puck in front of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) as Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson (40) looks for the rebound during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Rugby training gear is shown during a Torotno Wolfpack during a practice at Lamport Stadium in Toronto. Bradford, Featherstone, Leigh, London,  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) and centre Chris Tierney (71) get sandwiched between Flames defencemen Rasmus Andersson (4) and Juuso Valimaki (6) during second-period NHL action in Ottawa on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Team Canada's Jocelyne Larocque celebrates her goal past the U.S.A. with goaltender Embrace Maschmeyer during first period of Women's Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver on February 5, 2020. The Canadian women's hockey team opened a camp Monday in Halifax, which is co-hosting the upcoming world championship. Hockey Canada invited 35 players to participate in the seven-day camp closed to the public and media at Scotiabank Centre. The women are training under restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a limit of 25 players on the ice at one time. "They will continue to follow strict COVID-19 testing as per team health and safety protocols that have been detailed and approved by Nova Scotia Public Health," Hockey Canada said Monday in a statement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Most Read