TORONTO — Canada has a great history of health pioneers: people like Frederick Banting who discovered insulin or Norman Bethune who developed the first mobile blood transfusion service set impressive examples. Improving the health of future generations is a possibility for ordinary Canadians too – and more than 150,000 of them are already doing so through the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project. This long-term population health study will help researchers better understand the causes of cancer and other chronic diseases, and it is continuing to enlist Canadians’ help in many parts of the country.
A recent survey suggests that Canadians feel strongly about understanding the causes of cancer and how to prevent it. About half of Canadians feel they can play a personal role in preventing cancer through lifestyle choices, but they also want to take an active role beyond raising or donating money to help researchers better understand the causes of cancer. About a third think more information is needed about the causes of cancer in order to more effectively prevent it.
“The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project brings together ordinary Canadians and the research community to tackle some of the most challenging questions about cancer and chronic disease,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, federal Minister of Health. “As part of the broader national cancer strategy our government is actively supporting, this collaborative effort is a powerful, made-in-Canada example of how we can work together to benefit the health of future generations.”
The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the national organization responsible for leading a coordinated cancer strategy across the country, provides lead funding for the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project. The study involves thousands of Canadians who share information about their health and lifestyle once or twice a year over the course of their adult lives. By collecting, studying and comparing this data, researchers can explore and understand regional, national and international patterns and trends. This will help to answer questions about why some people get cancer and other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart and lung disease, while others don’t.
Canadians aged 35 to 69 can participate in the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project by signing up through a regional study: Atlantic PATH, the BC Generations Project, the Ontario Health Study, Quebec’s CARTaGENE or Alberta’s The Tomorrow Project.
Kathy Giles, a study participant who lives near Fredericton, New Brunswick, is participating in the study because of her personal connection to cancer: her two children have both had cancer diagnoses and her father died of it. “We all know tobacco is bad; we know we need to eat healthier. We know we need to get screened regularly. Is that enough?” she asks. “There is still a lot to know about what is causing cancer and why.”
“Despite all that has been learned in recent years about cancer and other chronic disease, so much remains to be understood. What people eat, how active they are, where they live and work, and how these variables interact and change through life are all examples of key information that can help,” said Alison Spaull, Executive Director of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project. “Over time, this study will help researchers to answer questions about why some people develop cancer and other chronic diseases while others do not. It is vital to guiding efforts to address these illnesses and lessening their impact in the future.”
More information and links to the regional studies are available at partnershipfortomorrow.ca.
About the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project
The largest study of its kind to-date in Canada, the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project has the potential to help researchers better understand what causes cancer and chronic disease in the Canadian population. By collecting health and lifestyle information over many years from a large group of people across a variety of backgrounds and regions, it will build a rich history of study participants’ health and habits for exploration and analysis. Canadians aged 35-69 in many parts of the country can participate in the study by signing up regionally with Atlantic PATH, the BC Generations Project, Quebec’s CARTaGENE, the Ontario Health Study and Alberta’s The Tomorrow Project. The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project is entirely funded by the public sector including $42 million from the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, its largest current funder and the national organization responsible for leading a coordinated cancer strategy across the country. An additional $57 million has been invested by several regional funders including the BC Cancer Foundation, the Alberta Cancer Foundation, the Alberta Cancer Prevention Legacy Fund administered by Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and Genome Quebec. For more information, visit partnershipfortomorrow.ca.
About The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer is an organization funded by the federal government to accelerate action on cancer control for all Canadians. Bringing together cancer experts, government representatives, patient and survivor groups, including the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Cancer Action Network to implement the first pan-Canadian cancer control strategy, the vision is to be a driving force to achieve a focused approach that will help prevent cancer, enhance the quality of life of those affected by cancer, lessen the likelihood of dying from cancer, and increase the efficiency of cancer control in Canada. For more information, visit www.partnershipagainstcancer.ca. The Partnership is also the driving force behind cancerview.ca, an online community linking Canadians to cancer information, services and resources.
 Between October 13 and 16, 2011, Harris/Decima conducted a telephone survey completed by 1,007 Canadian adults aged 18 years or older. A sample of this size has a margin of error of 3.1%, 19 times in 20.