Alberta Cancer Foundation

The Four Most Common Cancers in Alberta

Four Common Cancers

In 2023, 23,000 Albertans will face a cancer diagnosis. That’s a big number, especially considering most of these diagnoses will be for either breast, prostate, colorectal or lung cancer. These four cancers account for 50 per cent of all new cancer cases in the province.

Despite the sobering numbers, Alberta Cancer Foundation donors play a pivotal role in improving cancer outcomes by helping fund clinical trials. Clinical trials are research studies that provide patients with access to leading-edge therapeutics and enable researchers to fine-tune and expand current methods of preventing, detecting and treating cancer. Discoveries from these studies help determine if new treatment options are safe and effective for use and provide optimism for other people who will face cancer in the future. Here, we take a close look at the numbers.

Breast Cancer

Watercolour by PP&, courtesy iStock; illustration by Appleuzr, courtesy iStock.

In 2022, 3,522 Albertans were diagnosed with breast cancer and that number is expected to increase by 3.5 per cent this year. Even so, breast cancer has some of the best outcomes: the five-year survival rate for someone diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer is 99 per cent. Alberta currently has 75 active breast cancer clinical trials that will enhance the outcomes for patients with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Lung Cancer

Watercolour by PP&, courtesy iStock; illustration by Appleuzr, courtesy iStock.

This year, 2,817 Albertans are expected to receive a lung cancer diagnosis. Unfortunately, lung cancer is associated with one of the lowest survival rates. The five-year survival rate for a stage 1 lung cancer diagnosis is 63 per cent and just six per cent when diagnosed at stage 4. However, there are currently 72 active lung cancer clinical trials across Alberta discovering new treatment options and innovations.

Prostate Cancer

Watercolour by PP&, courtesy iStock; illustration by Appleuzr, courtesy iStock.

This common cancer can be highly curable when caught early. In Alberta, the five-year survival rate for men diagnosed with stage 1 prostate cancer is 97 per cent. The province is currently engaged in 49 active clinical trials dedicated to prostate cancer, aiming to elevate treatment and discovery for Albertan men.

Colorectal Cancer

Watercolour by PP&, courtesy iStock; illustration by Appleuzr, courtesy iStock.

Last year, 2,212 Albertans were diagnosed with colorectal cancer. While the five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with stage 1 colorectal cancer is 95 per cent, the survival rate when diagnosed at a later stage is just 14 per cent. There are currently 25 active clinical trials in the province — a significant step towards improving treatment and long-term outcomes for Albertans.

Did You Know?

In 2022, the Alberta Cancer Foundation disbursed approximately $18 million to research and clinical trials in Alberta.