The Legacy of a Fighter

“My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair.”
Jack Layton

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:


Are Canadian drinking guidelines strict enough?

A Twitter follower tipped us off to a Canadian Medical Association Journal article that analyzes “sensible” drinking and cancer prevention- and concludes that new guidelines may be needed.

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!


“Buttboards” beckon bigwigs at the ASCO AGM

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.

Addressing Quality of Care Issues in the Colorectal Cancer Patient Pathway

Addressing Quality of Care Issues in the Colorectal Cancer Patient Pathway

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.