Statistics Canada maintains a snapshot of how Canadians die. The chart not only gives an indication of how nearly a quarter million of us cast off this mortal coil each year, but suggests where we are making progress and where the numbers are climbing dramatically.
You may have noticed that the Heart and Stroke Foundation no longer suggests cardiovascular disease is Canada’s number one killer. Canadians who die of major cardiovascular disease has dropped from 71,338 in 2005 to 68,342 in 2009, the most recent year for which Statscan has complete data. That would put it slightly behind those who die of “malignant neoplasms,” better known as cancer.
In 2009 71,125 deaths were recorded from cancer, a rise of nearly 4,000 since 2005. To put that in perspective, nearly one in three deaths in Canada are cancer-related. That does not necessarily mean we are doing that bad – Canada is just slightly better than the OECD average (age standardized) for all cancers at 205 per 100,000 population (OECD is 208). What is the leading country for fewest cancer deaths? Mexico, at 101 per 100,000, followed by Israel (162), Sweden (165) and Finland (165). Our nearest neighbour, the United States, has 185.