As the Canadian Cancer Society launches its annual Daffodil Month Campaign in April, the need for continuing support from the public remains strong. Not only will one in three Canadians be diagnosed with cancer in his or her lifetime, but cancer remains the leading cause of premature death (death earlier than the average life expectancy).
“This is one of the especially tragic aspects of this disease,” says Gary Semenchuck, President, Canadian Cancer Society. “Cancer is always a devastating disease, but it’s especially tragic when people with many productive years of life ahead of them die prematurely. With the continuing generosity of Canadians we will do all we can to ensure that no Canadian has to fear cancer.”
“We have made great progress in the fight against cancer and we know that the next 10 to 20 years will bring even greater advances,” says Julie White, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute of Canada. “An area of great promise is prevention of cancer. It is of paramount concern to us and is the cornerstone of our mission. We are committed to finding out as much as we can about preventing cancer and delivering this information to Canadians as quickly and clearly as possible.”
White adds that up to 70 per cent of cancers could be prevented through lifestyle choices such as adopting a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, choosing not to smoke or quitting, and avoiding overexposure to the sun.
“There is also mounting evidence about the importance of physical activity in preventing cancer,” she says.
“The most definitive evidence is for colorectal cancer, but new evidence has recently come to light about the convincing role of physical activity in preventing breast cancer. This is the type of vital information that we strive to uncover through our research.”
Advocating on behalf of Canadians is another important thrust of the Society’s prevention activities. Through its advocacy efforts – such as lobbying for smoke-free environments across Canada – the Society helps create societal change that will support Canadians’ healthy lifestyle choices.
“In addition to tobacco smoke we are committed to protecting Canadians from other environmental contaminants proven to increase risk of cancer,” says White. “For instance, we are calling for a ban on the use of carcinogenic chemical pesticides for cosmetic use on lawns and gardens as there is compelling evidence that some commonly used pesticides cause cancer. We are very concerned about the environment. People should not be exposed to known carcinogens.”
In addition to funding activities to promote prevention of cancer, donations raised during April will also fund:
“¢ important research that will uncover vital answers about this disease;
“¢ dissemination of information about all types of cancer;
“¢ support services for people experiencing cancer.
“We are able to carry out our essential work in the fight against cancer because of the generous donations we received from Canadians,” says Semenchuck. “By investing in us, Canadians can rest assured that inroads will continue to be made, and that fewer people will have their lives tragically cut short because of this disease.”
The Canadian Cancer Society’s door-to-door campaign has been a springtime tradition in communities across Canada since 1948. The Campaign is launched each year with Daffodil Days, which take place on different days in different communities across the country. This year’s Campaign goal is to raise $18 million. During the year, the CCS also raises funds through gift planning, special events and In Memoriam gifts, bringing total donations to approximately $118 million.
Information about local Canadian Cancer Society events during April is available by contacting local offices listed in the telephone book or by visiting http://www.cancer.ca
Watch for the following events in April:
“¢ Thursday, April 18: the release of Canadian Cancer Statistics 2002 – a report card on cancer progress in Canada;
“¢ Wednesday, April 24: an announcement of this year’s newly-funded cancer research grants made possible by Canadian Cancer Society funds.
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. Together, Canadians and the Canadian Cancer Society are making cancer history.