President & CEO, BC Cancer Foundation

I’m really excited about what’s to come with Dr. Aly Karsan’s posts, but I had to take this chance to talk about some timely stories that came out this week.

According to new StatsCan data, cancer is now the leading cause of death in every province. It is clear that as a community—locally, provincially and nationally—we must become fully aware of the impact that cancer has on individuals and families. We must also understand that this statistic is not set in stone. We at the BC Cancer Foundation believe that a world free from cancer can be achieved through the partnership of philanthropy and research. We work every day with donors across B.C. to make this happen.

These new statistics only serve to underscore what Peter McKnight brought up in his Vancouver Sun piece last weekend. Breast and prostate cancer receive a lot of attention, but they are not the biggest cancer killers. Because they touch so many families, the spotlight on them is rightly big. But given this new data, again as a community, we must become aware of all the other types of cancer that also deserve our attention. Lung cancer, for instance, as Mr. McKnight points out, takes a much more devastating toll.

After reading these articles, I felt it was important to remind you, our donors, readers and partners, that we at the Foundation raise funds and build partnerships to make a difference in the lives of as many B.C. cancer patients as we can. In addition to funding some of the most innovative breast and prostate cancer in the world, we work with the BC Cancer Agency to fund priority projects that also work to improve the lives of patients with other types of cancers. Our 2011 ITM Glamour Gala raised funds for an innovative new endoscopy suite that will benefit lung cancer patients; our 2011 Inspiration Gala just raised $1.5 million for the Personalized Medicine Project, which will focus on acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and rare pediatric cancer initiatives; next year’s Inspiration Gala will raise funds for hard-to-treat cancers; and this past Wednesday, we announced a donor investment of $1 million towards a Chair in Cancer Survivorship.

Making a difference in the lives of cancer patients, regardless of type, is what’s important. Our partners in discovery are helping us do that, and that keeps my hope going.

Thanks for reading,

Douglas