02/02/2015 08:05 EST | Updated 04/04/2015 05:59 EDT

Alberta Health Services says screening, lifestyle choices factors in cancer rate

EDMONTON - Alberta Health Services says screening and prevention contributed to a decrease in cancer rates in the province.

AHS says between 2002 and 2012 cancer rates declined by about one per cent each year.

And the death rate from the disease dropped by about 2.2 per cent annually between 2005 and 2012.

Breast cancer patients were 98 per cent likely to be alive three years after they were diagnosed if the disease was detected in Stage 1 or Stage 2.

Colorectal cancer patients were 90 per cent likely to be alive three years after early detection.

Dr. Paul Grundy, chief program officer of CancerControl Alberta, says people should be screened for these two types of cancer even if they don't have any symptoms.

"We want all Albertans to make cancer screening part of their medical conversation," he said Monday in a release.

Lung cancer was the leading cause of Alberta cancer deaths in 2012, with 1,428 people succumbing to the disease.

Grundy said diet, tobacco use, physical activity and time spent in the sun are all factors that can affect the likelihood of someone developing cancer.