Message from the Minister of Health – National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
Cancer is the leading cause of death from disease in children and adolescents in Canada. Approximately 10,000 children are living with cancer in this country and 1,500 more are diagnosed every year.
September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month – a time to reflect on how we can better understand and address the needs of children affected by cancer, as well as their families and caregivers.
Through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), our government has invested more than $1 billion in cancer research and more than $61 million in pediatric cancer research over the past five years (2016-2017 to 2020-2021). Through these investments, we are making significant strides towards providing the highest quality care, new treatments, and opportunities for children to live longer and healthier lives.
Most recently, CIHR invested $23 million to establish the first Canadian Pediatric Cancer Consortium (CPCC) – the largest investment to date for a Canadian pediatric cancer research project. Through the CPCC a national network of clinicians, researchers, caregivers, patients, and families are coming together with the goal to ensure that every child affected by cancer in Canada has access to the latest scientific advances, diagnostic tools, therapies, and supportive care. Researchers from the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto will lead team members from across Canada with diverse experiences, including research involving First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples to support ground-breaking research on pediatric cancer that would improve the health outcomes and quality of life of children affected by cancer across the country.
In addition to funding the CPCC, CIHR supports a wide range of pediatric cancer research across the country through the Project Grant Program. Examples include research related to patient-centered precision oncology, novel immunotherapies for children with high-risk cancers, the potential of exercise in minimizing chemotherapy-related cognitive side effects, and improving access to pediatric palliative care across the country.
Canada also continues to accelerate progress against cancer through international collaboration and partnerships. CIHR is among one of the founding members of G7 Cancer (in French only), led by the French National Cancer Institute (INCa (in French only)). This new alliance aims to further strengthen cooperation among cancer research funders around the world to address this major health challenge. As a leader in pediatric cancer research, Canada will also be participating in the upcoming Paris Conference for an International Childhood Cancer Data Partnership which will be held November 7 and 8 to discuss the establishment of an international initiative aimed at addressing complex challenges in pediatric oncology and data sharing.
Our government will continue to invest in cancer research and work with other health research partners, including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Cancer Research Society, Genome Canada, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and the Terry Fox Research Institute to tackle key and emerging issues in pediatric cancer.
By continuing to invest in research and championing global knowledge sharing, we will make great progress in advancing cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment to improve the health and quality of life of children affected by cancer in Canada and around the world.
The Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
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