Message from the Minister of Health – World Cancer Day
February 4, 2024 | Ottawa, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada
On World Cancer Day, Canadians join millions around the globe to raise awareness, inspire action, and stand in solidarity with those affected by cancer. Canada has made significant strides in cancer research, innovation and patient care that are leading to better outcomes than ever before for those with a cancer diagnosis. The overall risk of dying from cancer is declining in this country. Since 1988, close to half a million Canadian lives have been saved as a result of this remarkable progress in cancer control.
While we may have limited control over some risk factors, such as our genetic risk or our social and physical environments, there are steps we can take to prevent certain types of cancer. Being physically active, avoiding smoking or vaping, limiting how much alcohol we drink, eating plenty of vegetables and fruits and following Canada's Food Guide's healthy eating recommendations, protecting ourselves from the sun, getting enough sleep, and learning how and when to get screened for cancer all reduce our risk of developing or dying from the disease. Early detection can save lives.
There is still much more work to be done. Cancer remains the leading cause of death in this country, and almost everyone knows someone whose life has been impacted by a cancer diagnosis.
The Government of Canada continues to invest in cancer research to accelerate progress towards a cancer-free world. Over the last five years, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), we have invested more than $1 billion in research with the potential to advance cancer therapies, prevention and detection. We are working with provinces and territories, organizations, researchers and people with lived and living experience to explore collaborative opportunities to improve outcomes for those affected by cancer here in Canada and around the world.
International collaboration is essential in developing treatments for complex and frequently lethal cancers, such as glioblastoma. On May 9, 2023, CIHR became one of the founding members of the G7 Cancer alliance, led by the French Institut national du cancer. This new alliance aims to strengthen cooperation among cancer research funders around the world to accelerate the research and development of innovations to combat cancer. Through the sharing of knowledge across borders, G7 Cancer holds enormous promise to advance cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, treatment and much more.
The Government of Canada is also supporting and strengthening the clinical trials infrastructure in Canada and identifying new therapies for cancer patients.
These investments in support of cancer research are part of our commitment to pediatric cancer research and developing a long-term plan to ensure sustainable funding in Canada.
Today, on World Cancer Day, let us commit to reducing our cancer risk and helping our loved ones do the same so we can look forward to a healthier, brighter future, no matter where we live.
The Honourable Mark Holland, P.C., M.P.
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
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