New statistics released by the Canadian Cancer Society suggest nearly one in two Canadians will be diagnosed with some type of cancer in their lifetime.

The new figures, which were released this week in the organization’s annual report, stated that the lifetime risk for males in Canada is 49 per cent and for females, the risk is slightly lower at 45 per cent.

The report also found that one in four Canadians will die from cancer, which is the leading cause of death in Canada.

According to the report, an estimated 206, 200 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in 2017 and approximately 80,800 will die from the disease this year.

Speaking to CP24 Tuesday, Dr. Leah Smith, an epidemiologist with the Canadian Cancer Society, called the report a “reality check” for Canadians.

“This is for sure shocking I think to many but ultimately a reality check about the challenges we continue to face with cancer despite all of the progress we’ve made,” Smith said.

The increasing life span of Canadians is partly responsible for the new stats, Smith noted.

“Cancer is very much a disease of aging. We see almost 90 per cent of cancers are diagnosed in those Canadians aged 50 up. So part of it is we are living longer,” she said.

Despite the grim new report, Smith said there are things that can be done to bring those numbers down.

“There is a lot we can do to prevent cancer. We know about 50 per cent of cancers can be prevented,” she said.

“Actions like quitting smoking, eating well, exercising, protecting yourself against the sun… are very important and go a long way to reducing your risk of getting cancer.”