(June 3) – Every year on the first Sunday in June, we celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day — a time to recognize those who inspire us with their stories of courage and resolve in their fight against cancer.
As we age, our risk of developing cancer increases. Nearly one in two Canadians will develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in four will sadly lose their life to cancer. Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada.
While we mark the strength and resilience of cancer survivors, we must also continue to advocate for those who are currently fighting the disease. A diagnosis of cancer brings many challenges. It also calls for compassion and support.
Earlier this year, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, a federally funded not-for-profit organization, released its report Living with Cancer: A Report on the Patient Experience. This national report presents the country’s largest accumulation of patient data on the experiences of people living with, and beyond, a cancer diagnosis. It also highlights the importance of supporting patients before, during and after treatment.
The Government of Canada has invested $1.7 billion in cancer research over the past decade. This includes a recent investment of $255 million for genomics research and technology with the aim of increasing cancer survival rates and improving patient outcomes by making cancer treatments more precise and effective. It also includes research that seeks to optimize follow-up care for cancer survivors, and to improve the transitions in care for First Nation cancer survivors.
We are also working to reduce the risk factors for cancer, such as unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and smoking. For example, the Government of Canada is supporting Walk or Run to Quit, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society and the Running Room. This innovative program helps smokers to quit by incorporating physical activity into their daily lives to promote a heathier lifestyle. This approach not only reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases like cancer, but also enhances well-being and quality of life. If you are trying to quit smoking and you want to achieve a healthier lifestyle, I encourage you to registerfor this program, which is available across Canada.
Today, please join me in acknowledging the challenges and triumphs of cancer survivors across the country, as we work together to support those who continue to fight this terrible disease.
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health