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Cancer rates dropping in Alberta

Story by Justine Kelsie, 2Day FM Grande Prairie

A new report from Alberta Health Services suggests that fewer people are getting and dying from cancer in the province, but people in the northern region of the province seem to die from it more often than anywhere else.

The new report says Alberta’s cancer incidence rates have declined by about 0.6 per cent annually between 2001 and 2014, which is the most recent year tracked. Mortality rates have decreased over the past 10 years as well, falling on average by 2.1 per cent annually between 2004 and 2014.

“We’re making tremendous progress with cancer control in Alberta,” says Dr. Matthew Parliament, Senior Medical Director, CancerControl Alberta. “Albertans with cancer are living longer now than they did 20 years ago, proving we are providing the right treatments and care.”

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However, a look at the data suggests the benefits of these practices might not be evenly felt across the whole province. AHS’s North Zone (has an incidence rate largely in line with the rest of Alberta. About 531 out of every 100,000 people living in the zone were diagnosed with cancer between 2010 and 2014 compared to 521 province-wide. In that same time though, roughly 212.3 out of every 100,000 died from the disease. The mortality rate for the rest of Alberta excluding the North Zone was 185.8; a 12 percent difference.

Still, the news is largely good. Alberta Health Services released the data that highlights the significant impact that early detection and cancer screening has. In 2014, breast, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers were the most commonly diagnosed. In that same year, just under 6 thousand people died out of close to 18 thousand that were diagnosed.

AHS encourages people who do not have any symptoms to get screened as well and have cancer screening as a part of all medical conversations across the province.


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