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Cancer Survival Rates High in Canada

Canada had the highest ovarian and lung cancer survival rates in an International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP) report analyzing one-year and five-year cancer survival rates in Canada, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The report, published in The Lancet last December, looked at 2.4 million patients diagnosed with colorectal, lung, breast, and ovarian cancer between 1995 and 2007, with a follow-up done in December 2007. Rates were consistently higher in Australia, Canada, and Sweden, and survival rates improved over time in all jurisdictions.

Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario all participated in the study, with Ontario ranking first among provinces for colorectal cancer survival rates and third among all health jurisdictions examined. Cancer Care Ontario's President and CEO Terrence Sullivan said in a press release that the results "confirm that the cancer control strategies Ontario has put in place for early screening, timely diagnosis, and improved access to care are resulting in improved survival rates." However, Sullivan also advised that much work remains, including more screening and treatment options, better disease management, and prevention in primary care.

The ICBP is an international partnership of clinicians, academics, and policymakers in the six participating countries, which, for the first time, are collaborating to examine international disparities in cancer survival rates. Their research aims to investigate how and why cancer survival rates differ by examining epidemiology; population awareness and beliefs; primary care systems and behaviors; root causes of diagnosis and treatment delays; and treatment, comorbidity, and other factors.


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