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A message on World Cancer Day

February 4, 2011

World Cancer Day gives me the opportunity to step back and look at where we are and how far we’ve come in our knowledge and control of this disease. It also brings to mind the dedication and skill of those who are responsible for cancer research and care in B.C.

Despite our growing, aging population and the increasing numbers of us experiencing cancer, we’ve seen many life-saving discoveries and advances in recent years.

Many of them are home-grown. The BC Cancer Agency, Canada’s largest, fully integrated cancer care and research organization, is right in our own backyard.

Breast and ovarian cancer patients in B.C. experience the best survival rates of 12 comparable agencies in six different countries; outcomes for lung and colorectal cancer patients in B.C. have improved significantly over the past decade.  And British Columbia continues to have the lowest rates of both cancer incidence and mortality of any province in Canada.

On the research front, the BC Cancer Agency has announced seven major discoveries in genomics, breast, ovarian, and lymphoid cancers in the last 20 months — an astonishingly prolific achievement for a single organization in today’s fast-paced global research environment. We are now in sight of the goal of personalized medicine, where cancer prevention, screening, treatment and care will be prescribed according to our unique genetic profile, where cancer will become a chronic and manageable, rather than a fatal, disease.

Finally, it’s fitting today to recognize our partners in discovery — the thousands of generous BC Cancer Foundation donors who fuel the research that leads to new and better ways to conquer cancer.

This powerful partnership of philanthropy and research gives us much to be grateful and, at the same time, hopeful for, knowing that there are many more discoveries on the horizon.


President & CEO