A new innovative Canadian Cancer Society study aims to find out why some people never get cancer

11 March 2015

For more than 80 years, Dal Richards has entertained hundreds of thousands of fans as a big band leader in Vancouver. At 97 years old, the legendary Richards has no plans to tone down his busy schedule and aims to host his 80th consecutive New Year’s Eve party. “I walk a mile every day. I think my love of music and travel, as well as the fun of leading the band and entertaining audiences keeps me healthy,” says Richards.

Dal Richards

“I walk a mile every day. I think my love of music and travel, as well as the fun of leading the band and entertaining audiences keeps me healthy”

– Dal Richards

Richards is one of 500 super seniors taking part in a new research study to determine why some people live cancer-free into their 80s and 90s and beyond 100.

The super senior research project was named as the Canadian Cancer Society’s first Great Canadian Innovation Grant. Funding comes from a generous group of donors who responded to the Society’s appeal to raise $200,000 in 1 week to fund 1 Innovation Grant – a high-risk, high-reward, cancer research project.

“It appears that some of these amazingly healthy super seniors, who are still active and busy at an advanced age, could be genetically protected from cancer-causing mutations,” says the study’s lead investigator Dr Angela Brooks-Wilson of the BC Cancer Agency and Simon Fraser University. “There is also lots of evidence from other studies that lifestyle behaviours, such as not smoking, eating a balanced diet, cutting down on alcohol and getting regular exercise, play a huge role in not getting cancer.”

Super senior Dal Richards and Dr Angela Brooks-Wilson

Super senior Dal Richards with Dr Angela Brooks-Wilson

The study is accepting new super seniors. People who are 85 or older and have never been diagnosed with cancer, cardiovascular disease or stroke, dementia, major lung disease or diabetes, or people who are 100 or older regardless of their health, can participate. To learn more, contact project coordinator Ruth Thomas at 604-675-8151 or rthomas@bcgsc.ca, or visit the study website.

Read more about this new study.

If you would like to support the Society’s Innovation Grants, please contact your local Canadian Cancer Society office or call 1-888-939-3333.