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Incidence & Prevalence in Canada

  • In 2022, an estimated 4,000 new, Canadian cases of multiple myeloma will be diagnosed. Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of hematological (blood) cancer.
  • Prevalence rates for multiple myeloma (MM) are similar for people assigned male or female at birth, with a combined 25-year (1993 to 2018) prevalence of 1 in 2,505 Canadians. This amounts to a greater proportional prevalence of people living with MM than with cancer of the brain or central nervous system (1 in 2,753), stomach (1 in 2,776), pancreas (1 in 5,011), liver (1 in 5,511), or esophagus (1 in 7,397).
  • During the same 25-year period, MM was the 17th most rampant cancer in Canada with a reported prevalence of 15,030 people as of January 1, 2018. It was most detected among Canadians between the ages of 70-79 (4,820 people; 32.1%), followed by ages 60-69 (4,335 people; 28.8%), ages 80-89 (2,730 people; 18.2%), ages 50-59 (2,070 people; 13.8%), ages 40-49 (515 people; 3.4%), and ages 90+ (460 people; 3.1%). Other age groups analyzed represented less than 1% of the total people diagnosed. More recently, in the 5-year period from 2014 to 2018, MM became the 13th most prevalent cancer in Canada.
  • 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.

Read the Canadian Cancer Society 2022 special report on cancer prevalence

Read the Projected estimates of cancer in Canada in 2022 published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)

Read the Canadian Cancer Society 2021 Cancer Statistics

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