Vancouverites less likely to develop cancer than other Canadians

Dec 19 2017, 8:28 am

According to a new landmark report by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, residents of Victoria and Vancouver rank the highest in most measures of good health and are less likely to develop cancer compared to their Canadian counterparts.

The report, titled Population Health in Canada’s Largest Cities, attributes higher physical activity, less smoking and healthier eating to the West Coast’s smaller cancer outlook.

Of Canada’s major metropolitan areas, Metro Vancouver has the lowest smoking rate while the Greater Ottawa Area observes the highest. Overall, people living in major metropolitan areas were less likely to be daily or occasional smokers than those living in smaller urban and rural areas.

However, while the City of Vancouver might not have a smoking problem, it ranks 18th out of 20 individual cities with public place second-hand smoke exposure. This might have more to do with the differing bylaws set by municipal governments for prohibiting smoking in public spaces. However, both the City and the Metro region were amongst the lowest for second-hand smoke exposure inside vehicles.

When it comes to alcohol consumption, 23.1 per cent of Metro Vancouverites reported drinking no alcohol in the previous 12 months. This was only topped by the City of Vancouver (24.1%), Greater Toronto Area (25%), the City of Windsor (25.8%) and the City of Toronto (30%). On the other hand, with 12.9 per cent reporting drinking no alcohol in the last year, the City of Victoria came near the top of the list for alcohol consumption.

Not surprisingly, the study also concludes the City of Vancouver and the Metro Vancouver region have the lowest rates of obesity in Canada. Interestingly, there are some municipal differences in the region as the rate within the City of Vancouver was almost eleven points lower than the Metro area.

While they generally live healthy lifestyles, Vancouverites and Victorians need to be more proactive with regular colorectal cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer screenings. In particular, the Metro Vancouver’s breast cancer screening rate was the second worst in all of the Canadian municipalities studied.

To summarize the differentiation in findings, “while economic, cultural and social variations have considerable influence on cancer risk, this report has shown that even cities with comparable socioeconomic profiles can have very different risk profiles perhaps partly as a result of different policy and planning.” Click here to view the report.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in every province. According to the BC Cancer Foundation and statistics collected across the country, each week 3,340 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer and 1,470 Canadians will die from the disease.

Featured Image: JWalk*