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New cancer diagnoses down in 2020, possibly due to COVID-19 disruptions: StatCan

Statistics Canada saysthe number of new cancer cases dropped by 12.3 per cent in 2020, compared with the average annual rate over the previous five-year period, possibly due to pandemic-relateddisruptions in screening services.

StatCan data show there were 450 new cases per 100,000 people and that overall, cancer diagnoses among males fell by 13.2 per cent.

That was more of a decrease than for females, who saw an11.4 per cent dropin new casesduring the first year of the pandemic.

StatCan says difficulties accessing primary care and fewer in-person appointments due to COVID-19 lockdowns as well as travel restrictions may have impacted the registration of new cancer cases.

The data show that after the first lockdowns in mid-March 2020, the number of registered cancer cases dropped from 11,510 to 8,640 in April and 9,235 in May.

But the case count returned to 11,585 in June and from September to December, the numbers were either comparable to or higher than the previous five-year average.

StatCan says the incidence rates of the four most commonly diagnosed cancer types — breast, lung and bronchus, prostate and colorectal cancers — all appear significantly lower in 2020than the 2015-to-2019 average rate but the incidence rates for both throat and anal cancers increased.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 16, 2023. 

Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.

The Canadian Press

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