A Message from Dr. John Bell, Scientific Director and Dr. Stéphanie Michaud, President & CEO BioCanRx
On World Cancer Day, BioCanRx recommits to working towards a cancer-free reality. Continuing from last year’s theme, the message of World Cancer Day 2020 is “I am and I will”, a phrase that begs action and speaks to the innate potential within everyone to contribute to the eradication of cancer. The importance of this potential continues to grow, as do the sobering statistics.
In 2018, there were 18.1 million cancer cases globally. This figure is difficult to imagine, especially when we consider that it represents diverse individuals whose lives touch so many others. Even more hard to comprehend is the Union for International Cancer Control estimate that based on current rates and demographics, the global cancer burden will grow to 29.4 million cases annually by 2040 – an increase of more than 60%.
The current data in Canada, where cancer is the leading cause of death, are comparably shocking: The Canadian Cancer Society estimates that half of Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, and half of that number will die. In 2019 alone, this meant an estimated 25 Canadians diagnosed with cancer every hour. Some Canadians do not have access to the curative treatment they require, which is cause for further concern.
While these numbers are disheartening, they come alongside brighter statistics. The Canadian Cancer Society notes that the country’s five-year net cancer survival rate has increased eight percent since the 1990s. What’s more, death rates have decreased more than 35% in males and 20% in females in the last 30 years. These facts are reason enough to be hopeful, and the growing list of exciting discoveries and new therapies¬ strengthens our collective confidence in the prospect of improving the quality of life of those living with cancer, and ultimately eliminating the disease entirely. On World Cancer Day, BioCanRx reasserts its dedication to this mission, and to this international movement.
We are doing this by working with our pan-Canadian network of researchers, patients, industry and government organizations, trainees, and institutions to accelerate the most encouraging and innovative cancer immunotherapies to the clinic. We are discovering new means to combat cancer using the intelligence of the body’s own immune system. We are implementing the recommendations from our Cancer Stakeholder Alliance to invest in early health technology assessment for these novel therapies, and to include patient-reported outcome measures while collecting real world data as part of our clinical trials.
The phrase “I am and I will” reminds us that everyone can take steps to reduce the impact of cancer on our own lives, the lives of others, and the world. When we keep this goal in mind, and remember that the risk of cancer has been decreasing overall (when the effect of age and population size are removed), the vision of a cancer-free world grows ever sharper. Please join us as we strive to make this vision a reality.