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.
The Canadian Cancer Society is making tremendous progress toward creating a world where people no longer have to fear cancer. My mother, my sister and I have each experienced cancer, decades apart, which has given me a first-hand opportunity to observe and appreciate the many advances made by cancer research over the past four decades. I owe my life to this research, as I was successfully treated for Hodgkin’s Disease at 21 and have now been cancer-free for 23 years. My mother, unfortunately, lived only two short years after her breast cancer diagnosis in 1972, but because of research advances since that time, she would likely have survived if diagnosed today. This cancer research, much of it funded by our generous donors, has never offered greater promise for creating more effective prevention, screening and treatments.
The Canadian Cancer Society and our more than 50,000 volunteers across Ontario are working hard to ensure we are prepared for the upcoming surge in demand for support services. Ontario’s aging and growing population is expected to drive a 46 per cent increase in the overall number of cancer cases in the province within the next 15 years. This urgency is elevating all our fundraising efforts, including our signature Relay For Life and Daffodil Month campaigns.
In communities across Ontario, people diagnosed with cancer and their families rely on us for programs such as our Wheels of Hope patient transportation program, Peer Support and Cancer Information Service. The Society also remains committed to funding the best and most innovative research targeting more than 200 types of cancer, investments that continue to increase survival rates.
The Society has also enjoyed major victories in recent months in our efforts to influence health policy in Ontario. Recent wins include bans on menthol and other flavoured tobacco, as well as even tighter restrictions on the marketing and use of tobacco. We were proud to stand beside Ontario’s Health Minister Eric Hoskins when he announced that the in-school HPV immunization program will now include boys, a move that will help prevent numerous types of cancer in adulthood.
While the next few years present significant challenges, as the Chair for the Society’s Ontario Division, I could not be more confident in the abilities and commitment of our volunteers and staff to meet these challenges.
Chair, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario