in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, canada’s primary concern was to contain the virus, and rightfully so. although we’ve faced past pandemics throughout history, the scope and impact of this one was uniquely challenging.
for the first time, we’re seeing new data painting a picture of the covid-19 mortality toll in canada. in the recently released canadian cancer statistics report, data reveals that in 2020, covid-19 became the country’s 3rd leading cause of death, responsible for about 16,000 deaths in canada. this represents 5.3 per cent of all deaths, behind heart disease at 17.5 per cent and well behind cancer at 26.4 per cent. we can all remember the daily headlines in the news sharing tragic stories of loss and the deep impact the pandemic has had on families and communities globally, and right here in canada.
however, the newly released report also reveals that amidst the fight against covid-19, another significant crisis continued to silently claim lives.
cancer persisted as the leading cause of death in canada. according to new data from the canadian cancer statistics report, 239,100 people in canada are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2023 and 86,700 are expected to die from the disease. these numbers are expected to rise further in future years, due to a growing and aging population. not to mention that we have yet to see the impact the pandemic will have on future cancer diagnoses.
shutdowns led to delays in early detection, screening, diagnosis and treatment that may result in later-stage diagnoses with a poorer prognosis. in the first six months of the pandemic, there was a
25 per cent reduction in diagnostic imaging and a 20 per cent reduction in the number of cancer surgeries
canadian modelling study
estimated that disruptions to cancer care during the pandemic could lead to over 21,000 additional deaths from cancer in canada over the next decade.