SUMMERSIDE — More people on P.E.I. are dying from cancer.
It’s just one of the statistics contained in a new report released this week by the province’s Chief Public Health Office outlining cancer trends.
The Cancer Trends Report is a 65-page scientific document outlining cancer cases diagnosed from 1980 to 2009 on Prince Edward Island.
In 2009, there were 352 cancer-related deaths in P.E.I., a 30-per-cent increase over the 271 deaths in 1992.
And there are almost twice as many new cases of cancer being diagnosed now compared to three decades ago.
In 2009, 835 new cases of cancer were diagnosed. That number in 1980 was 473.
The number of new cases of cancer continues to rise mostly to the aging population and the increased risk of cancer, states the report. It went on to say that a small proportion of the increase is associated with the province’s population growth.
The increase in cancer-related deaths is also being attributed to aging population.
“This report really highlights the fact that Prince Edward Island does have an aging population,” said Dr. Carol McClure, chronic disease epidemiologist. “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.
“We also need to realize that Islanders have many risk factors that are contributing to the increasing number of new cases of cancer.”
The number of men dying from cancer is steadily declining, decreasing, on average, 1.3 per cent each year. Contributing to that decrease are reductions in deaths from prostate, lung, stomach and colorectal cancers.
But, the news isn’t as good for Island women.
There has been an average increase in the number of cancer-related deaths for females of 0.4 per cent since 1992.
A number of cancers have contributed to that number, including increases in deaths from breast, kidney, bladder, brain, non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia.
The report goes on to say that the average rate in women has stabilized in the last 10 years with no change in the average annual death rates from year to year.
More than half of all new cancers and cancer deaths on P.E.I. are from lung, colorectal, prostate and breast cancers.
In 2009, Islanders had the highest incidence of lung cancer across Canada while prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed on P.E.I.
Among Island women, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed but the overall incidence rate has only marginally increased by 0.5 per cent annually.
While breast cancer death rates have remained stable since 1992, long-term survival rates for Island women are significantly lower than the Canadian rate.
It was noted in the report’s synopsis that improvements in 2010 by the Department of Health and Wellness to the breast cancer screening program has resulted in more Island women being screened for the disease.
In 2009, 7,579 women were screened for breast cancer and, in 2011, 10,054.
While the number of people diagnosed and those dying each year are on the rise, more people are living longer with the disease, according to the report.