Working together to improve control of cancer in Canada

Canadian Partnership Against Cancer marks World Cancer Day by reporting on progress

Today is World Cancer Day. The Partnership is marking the occasion by reporting to Canadians on the key accomplishments and progress to date in advancing the country’s cancer control strategy.

Canada is one of several countries worldwide committed to implementing a national strategy aimed at systematically reducing cancer rates and deaths and improving patients’ lives.

“A ground-breaking population study in cancer risk, electronic checklists for surgeons, screening patients for pain and distress to better provide relief, and a shared national approach to colorectal cancer screening are just a few examples of Canada’s cancer control strategy in action,” says Jessica Hill, CEO, the Partnership.

“On a day dedicated to raising awareness of the global impact of cancer, we are releasing this progress report to demonstrate Canada’s collective commitment to reducing the burden of cancer on patients and their families. Together with our partners, we are taking steps to ensure Canadians are served by the highest quality cancer control system possible.”

The need is great

Despite advances in cancer prevention, detection and treatment, the number of Canadians diagnosed with cancer continues to rise, and cancer will be leading cause of death worldwide by 2010, according to the World Health Organization. This year, it is estimated that almost 74,000 Canadians will die of cancer and more than 165,000 Canadians will be diagnosed with the disease.

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) began operations in April 2007, with the mandate to oversee implementation of Canada’s cancer control strategy €” a plan developed by hundreds of stakeholders in the cancer community. The Partnership works with governments, federal agencies, patient organizations, provincial cancer agencies, professional associations and others to bring Canada’s cancer control strategy to life and create a more coordinated and efficient cancer control system. The Partnership’s work spans cancer prevention, screening and early diagnosis, research, the patient journey and survivorship, quality and standards, health human resources, surveillance, and guidelines.

Dr. Barbara Whylie“On World Cancer Day, it’s important for us to recognize that we are all touched by cancer, but together, we can make a difference,” said Dr. Barbara Whylie, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society. “In the future, I’m convinced that the improvements in the cancer control system sparked by the Partnership will mean that cancer patients and all those touched by cancer will have better support and suffer less unnecessary hardship.”

Partnership + Momentum = Progress

The following highlights are drawn from the Partnership’s Progress Report released today:

  • The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, Canada’s largest ever population study, will see researchers follow 300,000 healthy adults over the next 30 years. The study will examine interactions between genetic variations, environmental exposures, and the subsequent impact on cancer risk, as well as other chronic diseases.
  • Building on the internationally groundbreaking work done in Alberta with funding from Canada Health Infoway, the Synoptic Reporting project is introducing standardized electronic checklists for cancer surgeries. This project focuses on improving collection and use of surgery and treatment information through standardized electronic reports, and supports surgeons’ use of best practices and ensures that clinicians and patients have the information needed for appropriate treatment and follow-up.
  • The Colorectal Cancer Screening Network is developing a shared approach to colorectal cancer screening across the country. Part of this work involves developing elements for common information databases, building greater public and professional awareness of the importance of colorectal screening, and working with clinical partners to improve the quality and consistency of colorectal screening.
  • The Partnership has united over 100 leaders in immunization, HPV surveillance, screening and diagnosis, resulting in a consensus on priority actions around HPV screening and vaccination. A key goal is to ensure that information on HPV immunization and screening on individual women is able to be integrated by the time those young women currently being vaccinated reach the age of screening (18 to 21).
  • The benefits of research must reach the individual to make a difference. The Partnership is collaborating with the Terry Fox Research Institute to strengthen translational research that will enable discoveries to translate quickly into practical solutions for cancer patients worldwide. The Partnership has committed to collaborating on projects that involve using biomarkers to advance screening and treatment.
  • Smoking, poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, obesity and alcohol – these are all associated with cancer and other chronic illnesses such as heart and lung disease and diabetes. The Partnership’s CLASP initiative will identify groups of experts and front-line practitioners involved in prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases to provide advice and support for the development of evidence-based prevention programs.

About World Cancer Day

Marked annually on February 4, World Cancer Day aims to raise awareness of the global impact of cancer and increase understanding of prevention, detection, treatment and care. It is coordinated by the International Union Against Cancer and is supported internationally by members and partners, including WHO and the Partnership. For more information on World Cancer Day visit

Contact information

Matt Salvatore
Hill & Knowlton
(613) 786-9958

Polly Thompson
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
(416) 915-9222