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Cancer Statistics
Ontario Cancer Statistics cover page

Cancer Care Ontario has recently published Ontario Cancer Statistics 2016, a report that comprehensively describes the burden of cancer in Ontario. It uses data from the Ontario Cancer Registry to provide a clear picture of cancer in this province, focusing on the incidence, mortality, relative survival and prevalence of this disease. More information, as well as the full report, can be found on the Ontario Cancer Statistics 2016 page.

We monitor cancer incidence, mortality and survival patterns, as well as trends over time, place (e.g., by Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) or Public Health Unit) and person (e.g., by age group or sex). We do this work using data stored in the Ontario Cancer Registry

How we publicly report and provide cancer statistics:

View the webpages on the left for the most recent cancer incidence and mortality data for Ontario and by LHIN.

Updated reference population for age standardized rates

We have updated the reference population for age-standardized rates from the 1991 to the 2011 Canadian population. This approach is in line with Statistics Canada’s recommendations and other major Canadian organizations.

This change comes from the need for a more recent reference population with an age structure that better resembles the current population. It primarily affects incidence and mortality rates.

Using a more recent reference population has several implications including:

  • Rates that are more relevant. Rates standardized to the age distribution of the 2011 standard population are closer to the unadjusted or “real” rate;
  • An increase in rates. The increase is simply a result of standardizing to a more recent population and does not reflect a true increase in the event (new cases, mortality) in the population. The amount of increase varies by cancer type;
  • Lack of comparability. Rates standardized to the new population will not be comparable with rates age-standardized using another reference population (such as previously published statistics using the 1991 Canadian population).

Data requestors have the option of specifying their preferred reference population (either 1991 or 2011) when requesting data that includes age-standardized rates. Further, users of the CCO SEER*Stat statistical analysis package also have several options for the reference population.

It is important to note that age-standardized rates are artificial and are only appropriate for specific purposes, such as comparisons over time or between populations. Age-standardization can mask age-specific patterns and diminish the true burden of an event in a population.

For any questions or more information, contact the CCO Surveillance team at

Last modified: Thu, Feb 23, 2017
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