The Gender and Geography Statistics of Melanoma in Canada

Last week, we posted a broad overview of the past ten years in melanoma statistics, drawn from the Canadian Cancer Society’s documents Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014, Special Topic: Skin Cancers and 2015, Special Topic: Predictions of the Future Burden of Cancer in Canada. This week, we’re going to focus on more geographically specific statistics; what is the melanoma landscape in your province like?

If you read last week’s post, you’ll know that in Canada, males are generally more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than females. Over the past 25 years, the age standardized incidence rate (ASIR) of melanoma in Canadian males increased on average 2% yearly, while the ASIR of females increased but 1.5%; however, this percentage has jumped to 2.5% over the past eight years for females, likely due to the advent of tanning salons (2014 79). Between 1993 and 2009, men have seen a lifetime risk increase of 0.8%, while the lifetime risk increase rose 0.7% for women (79). Mortality statistics indicate that the melanoma death rates among Canadian males and females are consistent with diagnosis rates; the age standardized mortality rates (ASMR) have risen 1.2% yearly for males, 0.4% for females.

The higher melanoma incidence rates among men are also generally consistent from province to province, with the exception of Saskatchewan, in which the ASIR in 2010 saw 9.5 melanoma cases in every 100,000 males and 11.3 in every 100,000 females (2014 93, “Table 7.1”).


(2014 93, “Table 7.1 Annual Percent Change in Age-Standardized Incidence Rates (ASIR) for Melanoma of the Skin by Province and Sex, 1986-2010”)

The comparative incidence rate of melanoma in men is consistently higher in every province (except Saskatchewan), though, as indicated by the annual percent change being greater for Canadian females by 0.6% overall, melanoma rates among women are catching up. The greatest discrepancy between males and females is on Prince Edward Island, which has the highest provincial rate of melanoma in Canada for males (93, “Table 7.1”). The demographic with the lowest melanoma rate in Canada, as of 2010, was women in Newfoundland and Labrador (93, “Table 7.1”).


(2014 93, “Table 7.2 Annual Percent Change in Age-Standardized Mortality Rates (ASMR) for Melanoma of the Skin by Province and Sex, 1986-2009”)


Thankfully, the age-standardized mortality rates (ASMR) for Canadians are considerably lower than the ASIR. “Table 7.2” indicates that while Nova Scotia has the highest melanoma mortality rate among both males and females, the mortality rates for both men and women on Prince Edward Island in 2009 were too low to be recorded, though “Table 7.1” cites PEI as having the highest incidence rate among Canadian provinces for men, and the second highest for women (the highest being Ontario). The mortality rate among women in Newfoundland and Labrador is also too low to be recorded; the lowest recorded mortality rates for both men and women are in Manitoba. It is notable that Quebec, while having one of the lower incidence rates among the provinces for both men and women, has similar mortality rates.

The Canadian Cancer Society states that “variations of melanoma prevalence by province […] largely reflect population size differences and but also differences in rates of melanoma diagnosis and survival” (2014 85), which are important factors to keep in mind when considering the above data. Thank you for reading, and thank you to the Canadian Cancer Society and their document Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014, Special Topic: Skin Cancers for the statistics!


Works Cited:
Canadian Cancer Society’s Advisory Committee on Cancer Statistics (2014). Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. Web.