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Cancer most often occurs in older people, and our population is aging and facing that higher risk. While medicine continues to make progress detecting and treating cancer, and producing higher survival rates, the Society needs to prepare to provide more services to more Canadians who are facing the disease.
Today, cancer continues to affect us all – patients, families and friends – and the Society will do more to improve all of our journeys caused by this disease. We are working to streamline our operations and improve communications. We have already combined our administration into a single structure reaching from coast to coast. Our donor dollars will go even further as we eliminate duplications and simplify internal processes. With our committed staff, volunteers and donors, we will continue our progress towards our vision of creating a world where no Canadian will fear cancer.
Since 1938, we have kept patients and their families at the heart of our work, by collaborating with all levels of government to shape public policies to protect Canadians from environmental threats and behavior that can cause cancer. Our staff and volunteers continue to reach into communities across the country to educate people about prevention. And the Society continues to be the largest charitable funder of cancer research, advancing understanding of the disease, and discovering treatments and cures.
Our mission is focused on enhancing the lives of patients and their families in any way we can - from support and information services to funding clinical trials, to advocating for better health policies.
Cancer. It is something that has unfortunately touched the lives of virtually every Manitoban. Our lives are transformed when family, friends and colleagues are diagnosed with cancer. And far too often, these people are in for the fight of their lives. I am one of those people. I survived a 1986 cancer diagnosis. My sister did not, losing her fight in 2007. I know first-hand about the trauma, anxiety, and fear that comes with a cancer diagnosis. That is why I am proud to be part of a team that is fighting back against cancer together – and in ever increasing numbers we are winning.
I am just one of thousands of volunteers who contribute their time, energy, ideas, and skills to the Cancer Society year-after-year in communities all across Manitoba. Everywhere I go, I meet people with a strong passion to make a difference. And make a difference we do.
The Canadian Cancer Society invests more money in cancer research – around $50 million every year for the past decade – than any other national charity in Canada. And this research is saving lives. When we first started funding research in the 1940s, only about 25% of Canadians survived their cancer. Today, survival is at 63%. Among childhood cancers, survival is at 83%. That’s twice as many as in 1985. This research leads to discoveries that enable us to find cancer earlier, treat it better, or even in some cases prevent it altogether.
But much more than just a funder of research, the Canadian Cancer Society also provides vital support programs for Manitobans, and works for change in the health care system so it is more responsive to the needs of cancer patients and their families. When I talk to Manitobans receiving treatment for their cancer, some tell me about the powerful new drugs that are helping them. Drugs that didn’t even exist only decades ago. And drugs that no longer cost them anything because the government now covers them because the Canadian Cancer Society spoke up on behalf of cancer patients. Every year, the Home Cancer Drug Program will save more than 8,000 families an estimated $22.5 million. That’s money in their pockets at a time they need it most.
Our Peer Support program helps to reduce anxiety that so often accompanies a cancer diagnosis by matching cancer patients with cancer survivors who provide emotional support. And our Transportation Service provides cancer patients about 30,000 rides to and from treatment in more than 50 communities in Manitoba every year.
As a leader in cancer control, the Society also helps people affected by cancer make informed decisions, by providing them with reliable information based strictly on evidence and research findings. We also encourage them to adopt healthy lifestyles that reduce cancer risks like quitting smoking, reducing exposure to the sun, eating healthy and being active.
We were among the first to pick a fight with cancer in Canada over 75 years ago, and we’ve been leaders ever since helping families cope with a cancer diagnosis and providing support in communities all across Manitoba.
Thank you, to all of the volunteers, donors, and supporters for joining the Canadian Cancer Society’s fight for life. Together we continue to make a difference.
Jeff Cook, Chair
Canadian Cancer Society, Manitoba Division