The burden of cancer attributable to modifiable risk factors in Canada: Methods overview Academic Article uri icon

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  • Up-to-date estimates of current and projected future cancer burden attributable to various exposures are essential for planning and implementing cancer prevention initiatives. The Canadian Population Attributable Risk of Cancer (ComPARe) study was conducted to: i) estimate the number and proportion of cancers diagnosed among adults in Canada in 2015 that are attributable to modifiable risk factors and ii) project the future avoidable cancers by 2042 under various intervention targets. We estimated the population attributable risk (with 95% confidence intervals) and the potential impact fraction of cancers associated with selected lifestyle, environmental, and infectious factors. Exposure-specific sensitivity analyses were also completed where appropriate. Several exposures of interest included active and passive smoking, obesity and abdominal adiposity, leisure-time physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, alcohol consumption, insufficient fruit and vegetable intake, red and processed meat consumption, air pollution (PM2.5, NO2), indoor radon gas, ultraviolet radiation (UVR), hepatitis B and C virus, Helicobacter pylori, Epstein-Barr virus, human papillomavirus, human herpesvirus type 8 and human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1. We used the 2015 cancer incidence data for 35 cancer sites from the Canadian Cancer Registry and projected cancer incidence to 2042 using historical data from 1983 to 2012. Here, we provide an overview of the data sources and methods used in estimating the current and future cancer burden in Canada. Specific methodologic details for each exposure are included in the individual articles included as part of this special issue.


  • Brenner, Darren R
  • Friedenreich, Christine M
  • Ruan, Yibing
  • Poirier, Abbey E
  • Walter, Stephen
  • King, Will D
  • Franco, Eduardo L
  • Demers, Paul A
  • Villeneuve, Paul J
  • Grevers, Xin
  • Nuttall, Robert
  • Smith, Leah M
  • Volesky, Karena D
  • O'Sullivan, Dylan E
  • De, Prithwish

publication date

  • May 2019