Shape the Future of Cancer Care

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When we first launched our ‘In Focus’ blog series last year, we spoke about our commitment and our passion for being a partner within the Canadian healthcare system.  In fact, most of our posts touch on this idea in some shape or form.

Since we first opened our Canadian operations in 1931, we’ve sought to improve the lives of Canadians through our innovative diagnostics and medicines.  Over time, we also started to work with government and policy stakeholders to input into initiatives, policies and regulations that we knew would make a difference for Canadians.

And this work with health system stakeholders continues in earnest today. Addressing these care gaps and challenges requires a coordinated pan-Canadian effort focused on a common set of national priorities and goals.  As part of their consultation process in modernizing the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer recently asked us to share our perspective on modernizing the prevention and treatment of cancer in this country.  

We spoke extensively about the need for partners across the healthcare system to bring together the vast amount of available health and genomic data so that we can better understand how cancer is impacting Canadians as well as focus our research on addressing key triggers and biomarkers (genetic mutations) driving the disease.  

We spoke about the need for our healthcare system to lead the way in the area of precision oncology by making diagnostic tests more accessible. In fact, we would argue that a move towards precision oncology will not be possible until we tackle the barriers. As we find more and more rare genetic mutations that are feeding cancer, we need Canadians to have access to tests that can detect these mutations quickly, offering them the opportunity to be treated with a targeted medicine for their specific type of disease.  

We also discussed the need for our cancer control strategy to take a long hard look at the future of how cancer will impact Canadians, putting measures into place today that will strengthen our future fight against this pervasive disease. Nearly 1 in 2 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and 1 in 4 will die from the disease.  This suggests that we – as a society – need to do more, not only to prevent but to also detect the disease through diagnostics tests that offer a wide lens view to the genetic mutations at play.  By understanding the underlying genetic causes, we will be better equipped to screen for and treat the disease early, while driving research efforts to discover new, innovative ways to fight the disease.  

Cancer impacts us all and everyone should have a say in the development of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control.  While we value the opportunity to share our thoughts, we encourage every individual and organization to visit cancerstrategy.ca and take #30MinutesThatMatter to provide input into this process and help us change the future of cancer care.

November 27, 2018