“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.”
Canada has lost both a great man and profound leader. Jack Layton, not only triumphantly led his political party to become Canada’s Official Opposition but was an inspiration to fellow Canadian cancer patients through his unfaltering courage and drive to live.
After battling and victoriously overcoming his first bout of prostate cancer in 2009, he was viewed as a symbol of hope and optimism within our country. When diagnosed with a new form of cancer in July, the NDP leader decided to step down briefly ‘to fight this new cancer, so that he could be back in September to continue to fight for families when Parliament resumed.’
He left with the intent and conviction to win yet again.
Sadly, this time his battle was lost. He passed away early Monday morning in his home, surrounded by those closest to him.
In his hiatus speech on July 25, he expressed his gratitude for the numerous letters and e-mails he received from across the nation, “Your stories and support have touched me deeply and I have drawn strength and inspiration from them.”
In his final letter, Layton continued to lead, even in death, by instilling a positive outlook in the hearts of others who struggle with cancer on a daily basis.
“To other Canadians who are on journeys to defeat cancer and to live their lives, I say this: please don’t be discouraged that my own journey hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped. You must not lose your own hope. Treatments and therapies have never been better in the face of this disease. You have every reason to be optimistic, determined, and focused on the future. My only other advice is to cherish every moment with those you love at every stage of your journey, as I have done this summer.”
To read the complete farewell letter the honourable Jack Layton left behind for his beloved fellow Canadians please see the attached link:
From the article’s description on the CMAJ site:
Guidelines for sensible drinking do not take the dose-response relationship between alcohol consumption and cancer risk into consideration. According to Latino-Martel and colleagues, the amount of evidence for the link between alcohol consumption and cancer has recently increased. On the whole, alcohol is considered an avoidable risk factor for cancer. Current guidelines for sensible drinking are not adequate for the prevention of cancer, and new guidelines based on scientific evidence are needed. Full article
You will need a paid account to access the full CMAJ article, but Carly Weeks’ Globe and Mail article explains our current state of affairs nicely:
In Canada, there are no federally established drinking standards. But low-risk drinking guidelines created by researchers from the University of Toronto and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, which have been endorsed by many health organizations, say men should consume no more than 14 alcoholic drinks in a week, and women no more than nine.
The Globe and Mail reports that a brand new set of Canadian drinks-per-week guidelines is in the works.
Here’s to hoping that Canada’s policy makers will pay attention to studies like this, a Centre for Addiction and Mental Health collaboration which found that alcohol use above “daily recommended limits” leads to several types of cancers.
Canada’s first national drinking guidelines are expected to be released later this year. Do you feel this will have an impact on the amount of alcohol you consume? Discuss!
Pat and Lauren Connors (Dartmouth, NS) brought us on a trip down memory lane with Crunch Out Colon Cancer, a fundraiser inspired by the fabulously campy 8 Minute Abs. This event was put on in memory of Jim Connors, hero and loving father to Pat and Lauren. Jim lost his life to colon cancer.
Why they raised money:
“To keep our father’s legacy—of dedication to his community and to those in need—alive. [T]o spread a message that Colon Cancer is treatable and beatable—when caught early through screening. All proceeds will be shared between the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society.”
How they did it:
Through an abs-athon, of course! Lauren and Pat (and friends!) did a grueling session of 8 minute abs (above) for every $80 raised. With so much community support for the event, we bet their obliques are now anything but weak!
Check out the pics from the event- we hear it was a whole six-pack of fun!
We met with prominent oncologists from around the world at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) conference in Chicago earlier this month- and we thought it was the perfect opportunity to get cheeky.
Our GetYourButtSeen-themed booth and educational butt-boards were a rare treat in a sea of oh-so-serious displays, and many doctors took the time to stop by our booth and create virtual butts of their own. There were some good laughs and extremely positive comments on our edgy virtual awareness campaign.
These specialists, who deal with the seriousness of cancer treatment on a daily basis, are ready to bare their butts. Are you?
Heartfelt thanks to CCAC Board Members Garry Sears and Eva Hoare for joining Frank (our Patient & Volunteer Support guru), Michelle (our Business Operations Director) and Barry (CCAC president) in the Windy City.
Did you know that the CCAC has a full-time clinical & Educational Specialist? Along with our Medical Advisory Board, this individual is a vital link between medical research and the many patients who come to our site seeking information about colorectal cancer screening, treatment and prevention. Below, you’ll find a selection of this month’s selected journal article summaries- a gift to you from our Clinical & Educational Specialist! Click here to catch up on previous months’ selected articles.
- EGFR-Targeted Therapies Like Erbitux & Vectibix Bind to Decoy
- Biothera Initiates Dosing in a Phase III Trial in Colorectal Cancer Patients
- DNA Repair Plays a Role in Colon Cancer Recurrence
- Primary Tumor Response to Preoperative Chemoradiation With or Without Oxaliplatin
- Avastin in First Line Therapy Comparing Folfiri and Xeliri
- Study Shows No Benefit from Adding Erbitux to Standard Chemo
- VEGF-C and VEGF-D Identified as Biomarkers for Avastin Resistance
- Breast Cancer Drug Lapatinib Helpful in Colon Cancer
- Xeloxgem (Xeloda + Oxaliplatin + Gemcitabine) In Second Line Therapy
- Adding Oxaliplatin to 5FU/Leucovorin in Stage II Colon Cancer
- Erbitux + Folfiri As First Line Therapy for MCRC
- MSI Testing Before Surgery For Young Patients
- Second Surgery for Peritoneal Mets
- Preoperative Radiotherapy Combined with Total Mesorectal Excision For Rectal Cancer
- Prognosis of Elderly Colorectal Cancer Patients In the Year Following Surgery
- The Use of Intraoperative Radiotherapy in Colorectal Cancer
- Pretargeted Radio-immunotherapy for Colorectal Cancer
- Detecting Polyps in Women
- People with Negative FOBT Might Still Be At Risk for Colorectal Cancer
- Oncotype DX Identifies Those Stage II Patients Who Are At Higher Risk of Recurrence
- Poor Bowel Preps May Miss Polyps
- Trial Participation Possible for Elderly Patients
- Red and Processed Meat, Fibre and Colorectal Cancer
- Reducing Exposure to Carcinogens When Cooking Outdoors
- Eating Yogurt May Reduce Colorectal Cancer Risk
- Anti-Cancer Grilling Tips
- Colorectal Cancer Risk in Offspring Reduced by Vitamin B in Mom’s Diet
The CCAC hosted its third Round Table conference in Vancouver last month. Entitled Addressing Quality of Care Issues in the Colorectal Cancer Patient Pathway, the conference’s participants came together to discuss how they could better provide patients with seamless access to quality colorectal cancer care. Notable healthcare professionals from various disciplines and provinces engaged in deep discussions and group workshops to create strategies and projects to improve patient outcomes. Screening, treatment, navigation, survivorship and palliative care concepts were all explored.
We were very fortunate to host Dr. Robyn Boushay and Dr. Michael Fung Kee Fung who discussed the Ottawa Hospital’s multidisciplinary Communities of Practice care model. They shared their positive experiences in implementing this model at the Champlain Hospital region and we hope to spread their ideas to other hospitals and provincial healthcare authorities.
Keeping active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a key preventative measure for colorectal cancer. As part of the Round Table’s healthy lifestyle agenda, participants engaged in morning and afternoon exercise activities such as yoga, tai-chi, jogging and biking!
We’re back home in Montreal now, and we think this conference was a great success! We can’t wait to get started on new project ideas that will help improve the colorectal cancer patient pathway.
An estimated 22,200 Canadians will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer (CRC) this year. How will the Colorectal Cancer Association – a team of only a dozen professional staff – reach them all? Our Cancer Coaches are the answer!
Cancer Coaches are survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals who we train, certify and empower to provide patients and their families with:
- Information about new treatments and clinical trials
- Suggestions for better coping, symptom/side effect management, stress reduction, etc
- Psychosocial support
- Guidance regarding Healthcare system navigation
Topics on the agenda for this packed three-day conference:
- Digestive system anatomy (our Clinical/Educational Specialist)
- Hereditary syndromes (and their connection to CRC) (veteran Cancer Coach Roslyn Fitzpatrick and Dr. Deborah Terespolsky, Medical Geneticist for Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga)
- Approved surgical, systemic (drug) and complementary therapies
- Coping skills, support methods (Dr. Mary Jane Esplen, De Souza Institute in Toronto)
- Medical oncology (Dr. Pierre Major, Juravinsky Hospital in Hamilton)
- Radiation oncology (Dr. Laura Dawson, University Health Network in Toronto)
- Liver surgery (Dr. Calvin Law, (Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto)
- Mindfullness-based stress reduction (Dr. Susan Abbey, University Health Network in Toronto)
- Review of 2010-2011 research findings
- Ostomy care (Debbie Miller, Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre, Toronto)
- Naturopathic medicine (with Dr. Becky Lee, Marsden Clinic)
Follow the conference’s activities on Twitter using hashtag #CancerCoach- and if you need support, don’t be afraid to call us at 1-877-50-COLON (26566).
Victoria Day long weekend is just a few short hours away, so it’s time we grill you on safe BBQ’ing!
Some research show that cooking meat at high temperatures can produce harmful carcinogens that increase your colorectal cancer risk. From one of our former posts on the matter:
When high-protein, high-fat foods like meat are cooked to the point of charring, the large quantities of creatine in the meat’s muscle cells chemically bond with the amino acids of the protein to form heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have the ability to bond to DNA and cause genetic mutations that can trigger the growth of cancer. Further, the meat’s fat may oxidize, a process that produces compounds like malondialdehyde, which have similar abilities in terms of genetic mutations. Studies do conclude that high consumption of HCAs can be found in colorectal cancer patients.
The good news is that there are ways to reduce the harm while still enjoying the high-heat cooking of BBQ season:
- Overall, base your diet around fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. Eat meat in small quantities, grilled or otherwise
- Cook “low and slow”. Even if two pieces of meat are cooked to the same level, the piece cooked over a lower heat and longer period will contain fewer carcinogenic compounds
- Marinate your meat. This is probably the tastiest tip on the list! Research shows that the use of herbs and spices may inhibit the formation of carcinogenic compounds
- Limit the amount of fat that is allowed to drip onto the grill. Achieve this by using tongs rather than a fork to manipulate the meat, as piercing will cause fat to run out
- Consider lining your barbecue with tinfoil. Be sure to poke some holes so that smoke can escape. When the fat drips, it will avoid touching the hot coals, and will reduce the chances of your meat charring
- Grill up those veggies! Many vegetables can play a delicious role in your afternoon barbecue- try portobello mushrooms, sweet peppers, zuchinni, eggplant and asparagus
And now, what about the beer? A frosty brew may seem like the perfect accompaniment to your Victoria Day spread, but please practice moderation! Beside reducing your risk of impromptu karaoke, some evidence suggests that limiting your alcohol consumption may markedly reduce your colorectal cancer risk.
On April 24 2010, we held a small conference in Montreal in order to discuss how Canada’s colorectal cancer experts can better treat metastatic cancer patients. Over twenty doctors and nurses from various disciplines came together to form “practice guidelines” for care of those individuals whose cancer had spread beyond the colon or rectum. Nearly one year later, we’re harvesting the fruits of our labour!
The May 2011 edition of Oncology Exchange features our finished consensus (or “practice guidelines”) document, entitled “Standards of care for curative surgery and management of metastatic colorectal cancer”. Click here to read the PDF version of the article.
Among the experts’ priorities?
All Canadian patients with mCRC should have access to government-funded systemic therapies (and the predictive biomarker testing required to make systemic therapy decisions) that will improve their cure rate when used with surgery, or improve their survival and/or quality of life when used for unresectable metastatic disease.
The experts also touch upon the issue of clinical trial access:
Although there have been significant advances in the treatment of mCRC in the last decade, further improvements are necessary. Offering patients the option of participating in clinical trials should be a priority, and there should be a continued effort to design and accrue to trials that assess important patient-related outcomes such as quality of life and symptom control in addition to progression- free and overall survival.
This consensus statement article is a challenging read, but a wonderful window into some of the crucial work we do with medical professionals.
Need some help with terminoloy? Consult our Glossary of Terms as you read!
Did you know that the CCAC has a full-time Research & Education Specialist? Along with our Medical Advisory Board, this individual is a vital link between medical research and the many patients who come to our site seeking information about colorectal cancer screening, treatment and prevention. Below, you’ll find a selection of this month’s selected journal article summaries. A gift to you from our Research & Education Specialist! Click here to catch up on previous months’ selected articles.
- FDA Approves Fusilev
- Reintroduction of Oxaliplatin in the Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal
- Pain Relievers May Lower Colorectal Cancer Risk
- Erbitux in First Line Therapy for the Treatment of Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
- Zaltrap Extends Survival in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer
- Drug May Have Utility in Treating Colorectal Cancer
- Prophylactic Drugs Help Prevent Oxaliplatin-Related Nausea and Vomiting
- Unresectable Peritoneal Carcinomatosis from Colorectal Cancer
- Laparoscopic Liver Resection Becoming More Popular
- Liver Resection in Presence of Extrahepatic Disease
- Sentinel Lymph Node Procedure in Colorectal Cancer
- New Test for Colon Cancer Detection
- CT Colonography More Sensitive At Detecting Colorectal Cancer
- Simple Urine Test for Colorectal Cancer
- Interval Colorectal Cancers Increased After Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Estrogen Use For a Few Years After Menopause is Safe
- Decision Aid for Patients with Advanced Colorectal Cancer Considering Chemo
- How Inflammation Can Lead to Cancer
- Vitamin D [25(OH)D] and Colorectal Cancer
- Alcohol and Cancer
- Study Shows No Link Between Folates & Colorectal Cancer
- Office Desk Job Doubles Colon Cancer Risk
- Smokers Diagnosed With Colon Cancer Have Greater Likelihood of Dying
- Eating Anything At Anytime & Risk of Colorectal Cancer
- Thin People Face Colon Cancer Risk As Well