Statistics Canada says 2008 was the first year on record that cancer was the leading cause of death in every Canadian province and territory. The statistics agency said Tuesday that cancer caused 30 per cent of all deaths in Canada that year, followed by heart disease (21 per cent) and strokes (6 per cent). Rounding out the top ten causes of mortality were chronic lower respiratory diseases, accidents (unintentional injuries), diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide.
These 10 leading causes accounted for 77 per cent of all of the 238,617 deaths that occurred in 2008. StatsCan said there were observable trends in mortality in different age groups in the Canadian population.
For elder Canadians aged 85 and older, heart disease was the leading cause of death, while cancer claimed the most lives of people aged 35 to 84. Accidents, or unintentional injuries, caused the highest number of deaths of Canadians aged 1 to 34, while congenital abnormalities were the most deadly threat to children under 12 months of age.
StatsCan also named the top-three causes of death for Canadians aged 15 to 24: accidents, suicide and homicide.