Investigating epidemiologic trends and the geographic distribution of patients with anal squamous cell carcinoma throughout Canada
Background Anal cancer is a rare disease, constituting 0.5% of new cancer cases in the United States. The most common subtype is squamous cell carcinoma (scc). Studies in several developed nations have reported on an increasing incidence of anal cancer in recent decades, and various risk factors pertaining to the pathogenesis of the disease have been identified, including infection with the human papillomavirus, tobacco use, and immunosuppression. The epidemiology and distribution of anal scc throughout Canada remain poorly understood, however.
Methods Using 3 population-based cancer registries, a retrospective analysis of demographic data across Canada for 1992–2010 was performed. The incidence and mortality for anal scc was examined at the levels of provinces, cities, and the forward sortation area (FSA) component (first 3 characters) of postal codes.
Results During 1992–2010, 3720 individuals were diagnosed with anal scc in Canada; 64% were women. The overall national incidence rate was 6.3 cases per million population per year, with an average age at diagnosis of 60.4 years. The incidence increased over time, with significantly higher incidence rates documented in British Columbia and Nova Scotia (9.3 cases per million population each). Closer examination revealed clustering of cases in various urban centres and self-identified lgbtq communities in Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Discussion This study provides, for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of the burden of anal scc in Canada, identifying susceptible populations and shedding light onto novel avenues of research to lower the incidence of anal cancer throughout the country.