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Incidence & Prevalence in Canada

  • In 2020, an estimated 3,400 new, Canadian cases of multiple myeloma will be diagnosed, and there will be approximately 1,600 myeloma-associated deaths.
  • Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of hematological (blood) cancer, and 15th most common type of cancer in Canada
  • In the period from 1994 to 2015, the annual percentage change in mortality rate was -1.1% for males and -1.7% for females 
  • The majority of myeloma patients (male and female) are diagnosed between 70-80 years of age, with the most frequently reported age of diagnosis being 70, and individuals under the age of 45 only comprising around 4% of myeloma cases diagnosed in Canada per year.
  • The incidence rate of myeloma varies from country to country, from a low of fewer than one per 100,000 people in China, to a high of about four per 100,000 people in most western industrialized countries. In the global perspective, Canada’s incidence rate of myeloma is high, but it remains comparable to (and lower than) countries, of similar socio-political, and economic standing, like Australia and New Zealand.

Incidence, prevalence, mortality, & more… what are they and what can they tell us?

Age-standardized Rates: These rates describe how many people per 100,000 are/will be diagnosed with/die from a disease, usually represented as a decimal or percentage and are adjusted for the fact that developing any cancer becomes increasingly more probable with age (ex. An incidence rate for males of 9.7 in 100,000 people)

Average Annual Percent Change:  Shows how much change these numbers undergo on a year-by-year basis, for a specific period. If a cancer’s rate incidence/mortality etc.. goes up by an average of 2 percentage points per year between 2000-2010, they will have a 10-year average annual percent change of 2%; if a rate goes down by the same average, this will be represented as -2%. This measure is useful for tracking trends over time, as consistently negative numbers indicate

*Incidence: The number of new cases diagnosed in a year.

*Mortality: The number of deaths attributed to multiple myeloma in a year.

Prevalence: The total number of cases of a disease at a specific time. Prevalence is influenced by both the incidence and the mortality rate. Prevalence increases when survival rates increase, even though incidence remains the same. As multiple myeloma patients live longer, the prevalence increases. Complicated statistical analysis is needed to determine disease prevalence, which means these numbers are less readily and frequently made available.

5-Year Survival: The likelihood—represented by percentage, that patients will survive at least 5 years after their diagnosis.  (ex. A 20% survival rate would indicate a patient had a 20% chance of living for 5 years past the date of their diagnosis