P.E.I. cancer rate not the highest

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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I regularly see letters to the editor or opinions in the newspaper or on social media that claim that Prince Edward Island has the highest rate of cancer in Canada.  This is not the case. Just because something is repeated over and over again does not make it true.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, Prince Edward Island has the lowest age-adjusted incidence rate of cancer east of Manitoba at 402.6 cases per 100,000 people.  This is more than 20 cases lower than any of the other Atlantic Provinces. P.E.I.’s cancer rate is very comparable with Ontario (at 404.2/100,000).

Of course, this does not mean that cancer is not a major issue facing our province. As our population ages, we will undoubtedly diagnose more and more cancer cases.  Like everyone, I have lost a number of friends and relatives to cancer, including an aunt in Ontario in the last year.   However, in our grieving process, let us not make wild claims on what is giving Islanders cancer without acknowledging the facts.  

Do you know what is giving people cancer? Cancer specialists say that smoking, alcohol, too much sun exposure, sedentary lifestyles, and poor nutrition are the major risk factors. Let’s work on those proven causes before spending our time casting blame on unproven bogeymen.

Ryan Barrett,


Organizations: Canadian Cancer Society

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Canada Manitoba Atlantic Provinces

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