Cancer continues to occur in Canadians of all ages. However, the risk of cancer increases with age. The number of new cancer cases continues to rise steadily as the Canadian population grows and ages. In fact, 70% of all new cancer cases and 62% of cancer deaths will occur among Canadians 50–79 years of age.
The increased cancer rate may be due to a combination of factors, such as longer exposure to cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) and an immune system that becomes weaker with age.
Cancer in children and youth is rare. It accounts for just 1% of all cancers diagnosed in Canada. The highest rates of cancer occur in children younger than 5 years of age. This may be because cells grow rapidly during the first 4–5 years of life, which may make cells more vulnerable to cancerous changes