Almost half of all Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lifetimes. On World Cancer Day, I invite all Canadians to take action to prevent cancer and to support those affected by it.
Cancer is a complex disease, and the number of new diagnoses and deaths in Canada continues to rise. Our aging and growing population is expected to increase these numbers over the coming decades. While it may seem daunting, there are simple ways we can reduce our chances of developing cancer, like being active, not smoking, reducing alcohol consumption and eating healthy foods.
In recognition of the work that needs to done in the fight against cancer, our government is working with our partners to reduce the rates of cancer and encouraging Canadians to lead healthier lives. We continue to support the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer which has a tremendous impact through its work in prevention, early detection, treatment and support for those living with cancer.
Yet the work doesn’t stop there. Our government invests significantly in cancer research through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, committing almost $195 million in 2016-17. As partnerships are vital to advancing research, we are working with the Canadian Cancer Society and Stand Up to Cancer Canada to support a “dream team” of researchers who are tackling metastatic breast cancer, the most advanced form of breast cancer.
We are also continuing to support those battling this disease and recognize their unique challenges and needs. A report released by the Partnership, Living with Cancer: A Report on the Patient Experience plays an important role in helping us understand these. We need to see cancer not just as a disease to be treated, but an affliction touching all parts of a person’s life – including those close to them.
To better understand cancer’s impact, we must have a holistic view – which includes understanding the toll it takes on mental health. Better coordination of services is also essential. Many are already taking steps towards this. The Canadian Cancer Society’s programs for families are an excellent example, as is its Cancer Information Service hotline. This free service is a great resource for patients, caregivers, family & friends and medical professionals.
The theme of this year’s World Cancer Day is “I Am and I Will.” As the Minister of Health, I will continue to take action and fight against cancer. I encourage you to join the movement as well.
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health