Report gives clear picture of PEI cancer rates: health minister

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Most cancer deaths in P.E.I. are from lung, colorectal, prostate and breast cancers

The number of Islanders getting cancer is on the rise but residents here in general are living longer with the disease, says a new report.

The number of Islanders getting cancer is on the rise but residents here in general are living longer with the disease, says a new report.

Health and Wellness Minister Doug Currie lauds the 1980-2009 Cancer Trends Report for Prince Edward Island released earlier this week as an important document.

"It provides us with a clear, realistic picture of our current cancer rates, and it will help us to make appropriate policy decisions going forward,'' Currie said in a statement.

Dr. Carol McClure, a chronic disease epidemiologist, says the report highlights the fact that P.E.I. does have an aging population.

"We are going to see a high incidence of cancer in the years to come because people are getting older and age is a risk factor for cancer,'' said McClure.

"We also need to realize that Islanders have many risk factors that are contributing to the increasing number of new cases of cancer."

The report's data, which comes form the provincial cancer registry, is seen as a first step in understanding cancer trends in Islanders.

More than half of all new cancers and cancer deaths in P.E.I. are from lung, colorectal, prostate and breast cancers.

"While significant improvements have been made in the area of cancer prevention, there is much more work to be done,'' said Currie.

"We have already put in place the Smoke Free Places Act, increased screening programs for colorectal and breast cancers, expanded the Cancer Treatment Centre and the cancer patient navigator program, and this year we hope to pass new legislation on tanning beds restrictions.''

Currie adds more needs to be done. He says his government will be creating a task group to review the report and make further recommendations "as to where we need to focus next in cancer care.''

The Cancer Trends Report is a 65-page scientific document that outlines the cancer cases diagnosed from 180 to 2009 in Prince Edward Island. The report is compiled every five years.

Here are some notable trends highlighted in the report:

• There were almost twice as many new cases of cancer diagnosed in 2009 (835 cases) as there were in 1980 (473 cases).

• The number of yearly deaths in P.E.I. due to cancer increased by 30 per cent from 271 deaths in 1992 to 352 deaths in 2009.

• In 2009, Islanders had the highest incidence rate of lung cancer across Canada. Island men have seen a decrease in incidence and mortality rates of lung cancer, which has been attributed to decreases in smoking rates in men since the 1960s.

• Prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in P.E.I.

• Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women.

Organizations: Cancer Treatment Centre

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Canada

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Recent comments

  • to MOE
    November 10, 2012 - 11:29

    MOE, I agree that those with increasing age get a lot of negartive feedback. For example, blaming old people for tying up hospital beds. Are they not equal, breathing, contributing human beings deserving of care ? If it weren't for that generation we may all be speaking German and not having as much as we do now. They sacrificed.For us. We celebrate Remembrance Day. But then return to ageism shortly afterwards.

  • MOE
    November 10, 2012 - 10:54

    I have found that since , moving to PEI from another province , the first thing on the list is to blam the 55+ for all ills .Come on now be real you some day will get older . Just get real you are using equipment that is tooo old to date . There are no specialist on PEI , to speak of . Well when you turn 60 (sixty) you should have a DNR listed at the Hospital . Because that is the first thing they ask .I fit there and I plan on being here for another 25 years +. If you cann't handle sick or ill people with cancer for GOD SAKE SEND THEM OFF ISLAND . We know its the poisons used on the soil and in the air that is killing us . SO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT .

  • Concerned
    November 09, 2012 - 18:38

    It's great to read the comments that islanders are becoming aware of the fact that pesticides cause cancer and kill fish. Now contact your Gov't and demand action.

  • Betty Pickens
    November 09, 2012 - 16:55

    Back in 2000 my husband, Terry, passed away from Bladder Cancer. At that time a doctor in the province was doing a study of the high incidence of cancers along the Highway in Elmsdale...Over 9 people within a 2 mile radius had died from cancer within 3 years....I have never heard any news about this matter. I agree that our government should be spending our tax dollars on these problems rather than on highway paving...which may spare a few lives on our roads, however hundreds of our citizens need health help ...families are affected every day...Government should be providing safe environments, safe water supply, effective new drugs to help heal those who are cancer victims.

  • Ulfric
    November 09, 2012 - 14:15

    No surprise there. Every weather system we get carries pollution from the two most pollutant areas in NA. The eastern seaboard, and Ontario through Quebec and NB. It all drops down on PEI. Time to realize this and have more doctors and specialists on the island because it's only going to get worse.

  • pesticides till death
    November 09, 2012 - 13:24

    Rest assured that we are the highest for getting cancer as we are surrounded by pesticides. It would be interesting to see a study comparing small populations in the high farming areas like west prince where almost every household has some family member with CANCER. It would be interesting to see how much pesticides is used here in Pounds per person and tons per acre compared to other provinces.

  • a person
    November 09, 2012 - 11:33

    I think we could improve results esp in colorectal patients. Some of these cancers take years to grow and could be cured if caught early. Things seem to move rather slowly and appointments from service to service seem to take such a lengthy time. The limiting of time in some doctors office of 15 minutes may miss vital information or pressing concerns a patient may have. Trust of a doctor takes time as well.You need to build up a relationship. Sometimes it feels like an assembly line. And that is sad.

  • Darrin Deveau
    November 09, 2012 - 11:30

    Sounds like the province really needs to implement a Catastrophic Drug Program very quickly...

  • sasha
    November 09, 2012 - 11:12

    Worth noting is that word "pesticides" is not mentioned in this report at all. Other notable missing words are "rural" and "water".

    • dm
      November 09, 2012 - 15:38

      Also the words alcoholic and smokers were never used, i think we have a lot of those ppl driving up the rates, not to mention we are the oldest province besides newfoundland and Labrador, now i am not saying pesticides are good for us and we shouldn't be addressing that issue, but we have one of the highest alcohol consuming populations in the world lol i am sure that doesn't help cancer rates and to just blame it on the pesticides is stupid Sasha.

  • Sylvia
    November 09, 2012 - 10:57

    What is disturbing is the number of children being diagnosed with cancer in P.E.I.

  • Pat Kelly
    November 09, 2012 - 10:51

    The cancer report is both very clear and very concerning for women - In females, colon cancer incidence has been decreasing in Canada, but increasing among PEI women; over the past 10 years (1995 -2004) incidence among women is 30% higher in PEI than Canada." Why are women in PEI more likely to die of breast and colon cancer than anywhere else in Canada?

  • Howard Marshall
    November 09, 2012 - 10:50

    The cancer incidence rates will only rise as long as the governent continues to allow the spraying of potatoes and fields, and cosmeting lawn spraying. In Ontario for instance, cosmetic sprays are banned, and farmers have to take a course and be licensed before they can use sprays on crops. There is no mystery here. Sprays kill. They kill fish too!

    • Frustrating
      November 10, 2012 - 21:17

      I've read a lot of comments about pesticides causing the cancer in PEI. This is not true, but I know that the people who hold these views feel strongly that they're right. Unhealthy lifestyles (obesity, smoking, drinking, lack of exercise) causes much more cancer than does pesticides. We want to blame something or someone else when we or our loved ones get sick, and we've been told over and over again by Ms. Labchuk that pesticides are making us sick, so it's natural to pin the blame there. However, if we truly want to reduce cancer incidence in our Island, we have to deal with the documented real threats: unhealthy lifestyles. Please take action there and stop wasting your energy on "phantom" issues. It's a disservice to your families otherwise.

  • So much a matter of choice
    November 09, 2012 - 10:45

    Government is spending millions of dollars on pavement - millions more to be spent. If this is what choose as your priority, and you feel like you helped make that decision, fine. If not, why not choose to attend the rally for better government Monday, November 12th @ 2:00 at OUR Legislature. This is not an anti-Liberal rally (I am a Liberal) it's a simple statement that Islanders deserve real transparency and authentic involvement in the decisions that directly impact us. The evidence is clear, Islanders have recently witnessed, "signs of more serious deterioration". If we do nothing, we deserve that deterioration. But, don't our children and grand-children deserve better? Sure would be a statement if a few "rich" or well established Islanders would show up . . .

  • summer Islander
    November 09, 2012 - 10:41

    While it is commendable that the government is putting in screening programs for colorectal and breast cancers but what is being done regarding massive useage of pesticides etc on potato fields?

  • Ed Gallant
    November 09, 2012 - 10:32

    Banning tanning beds is akin to putting a band-aid on a severed limb. I didn't see any mention in this article of the effect all the potato sprays might have on the incident rates of cancer. If Charlottetown can ban the cosmetic spraying of lawns, then there must be a real danger from these chemicals. Now think about the weekly spraying over the growing season of chemicals that are much more potent and applied by the ton.Did anyone make a connection there? No? I wonder why that is.