Advocacy

Launch of the Get Personal Campaign on World Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Day

Launch of the Get Personal Campaign on World Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Day

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Today is World Metastatic Colorectal Cancer Day. A day dedicated to raise awareness of the most advanced form of colorectal cancer, known as metastatic colorectal cancer; this is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, such as the liver or lungs.

Each year there are 1.4 million new cases and 694,000 deaths from colorectal cancer. Many of these deaths are caused because the disease is detected too late. Approximately 20% of people across Europe and the US are diagnosed when the cancer has spread and even more go on to develop metastatic colorectal cancer after having been diagnosed at an earlier stage. Regardless of where you live in the world, people diagnosed with metastatic colorectal cancer have no more than a 1 in 10 chance of surviving more than five years.

However, with timely access to effective treatment and high quality care, people with metastatic disease can see their survival chances and their quality of life dramatically improve. But for too many patients, access to treatment is dependent on whether they have adequate insurance or if their public health system has approved specific treatments, rather than what their doctors and healthcare providers believe would benefit them most.

To coincide with this important day, Bowel Cancer UK, Bowel Cancer Australia, Colon Cancer Alliance (US), Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada, and Fondation A.R.CA.D. (France), have come together to launch the global Get Personal Campaign to make real change happen for people with advanced colorectal cancer.

Get Personal aims to increase survival rates, improve quality of life and reduce variation in access to best treatment and care for people living with metastatic colorectal cancer around the world.

We are committed to:

• Eliminating variation between and within countries so that everyone, irrespective of where they live, has access to the best treatment and care.
• Putting metastatic colorectal cancer firmly on the agenda of governments, health care providers and key decision-makers.
• Campaigning for further research to address gaps in knowledge and support the development of new, innovative and effective treatments.
• Raising awareness among patients, clinicians and policy-makers of the full range of tests and treatments to be made available.

By campaigning together and learning from each other, we know we can make a difference. Colorectal cancer does not recognise borders, and neither do we
For more information on the campaign and to find out how to take part visit the Get Personal website www.getpersonal.global.

Survivor Story: One Patient Questions & Demands Change – You can too!

Survivor Story: One Patient Questions & Demands Change – You can too!

pic My name is Joan Green. I am 62 years old, married, mother of 3 and I was diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer in 2013. My disease spread to my liver and lungs which necessitated me going on chemotherapy and a targeted therapy called Avastin. I have been responding very well to this combination therapy for quite some time. My quality of life has actually been good and I have managed to lead a relatively normal lifestyle. The majority of tumours have shrunk and I am grateful to be alive especially with the support of the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada through their monthly support and information meetings which are amazing and helpful to us all. I really appreciate these monthly meetings.

I have recently been advised though by my medical oncologist that my liver enzymes are taking a beating because of the toxicity caused from the chemotherapy. The oncologist is, therefore, recommending I change chemotherapy regimen. If I do this, I will no longer be eligible for the avastin which I believe has made a difference in the management of my disease. The provincial plan where I live does not fund avastin therapy in the next line of therapy for me. This is so disappointing for me and for my family who rely entirely on universal health care coverage! I truly believe that Avastin is the drug that is keeping my cancer at bay. I am not certain how to proceed. I know that other countries fund avastin in multiple lines of therapy. Why not in Canada?

Do you want to partake in a movement for change?

action-changes-thingsIf so, the CCAC needs your help! We’ve teamed up with patient advocacy groups from around the world to improve the treatment and care of patients affected by advanced colorectal cancer. Advanced colorectal cancer or metastatic colorectal cancer is when the cancer has spread from the colon or rectum to another part of the body such as the liver or lungs, or anywhere else for that matter. We are carrying out a comprehensive survey on the experiences of advanced colorectal cancer patients to learn about excellent practice and gain an understanding of where improvements need to be made.

Act now and promote change! Take the survey here:

http://confirmit.ssisurveys.com/wix/p65578404.aspx?l=4105

Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra

The Montreal Symphony Orchestra’s annual summer concert at the Olympic Park has become a tradition. Led my maestro Kent Nagano, it always attracts a crowd of music lovers. This year on August 10th, the MSO put together a concert to celebrate the Olympic Park’s 40th anniversary. A truly musical celebration to mark an important event and pay tribute to the athletes who competed here in 1976!

In coloboration with the Montréal East Island Integrated University Health and Social Services Center, the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada had the opportunity to greet the concert goers and inform them about colorectal cancer screening.

“Andrew’s Walk”

“Andrew’s Walk”

About Me:

Andrew I was diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer in 2011 at the age of 29. Over the past 5 years, I have been through radiation therapy, countless cycles of chemotherapy and several surgeries on my colon, liver and lungs. In addition to traditional treatment, I have embraced a healthy lifestyle and am so happy to be doing well.

I have a wonderful wife and we were blessed with the arrival of our beautiful son in January of this year. I am very thankful for the on-going support of our family and friends, and the amazing team of health care professionals who have helped me to get here.

About “Andrew’s Walk to Support Cancer Patients”:

After my diagnosis, I wanted to help raise money to fight the disease and support cancer patients. We raised $26,382 over 5 years with the help of our family and friends!

“Andrew’s Walk to Support Cancer Patients” was officially launched in 2014. Each year, we select a different organization or endeavour to support. This year, we are pleased to be raising money for the support groups run by the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada (CCAC).

Why we are raising money for the CCAC:

My wife found the CCAC 6 months after my diagnosis. This organization has made a huge difference in my battle against colorectal cancer. I have attended the monthly Oakville support group meetings on many occasions over the past 5 years. These meetings, led by Filomena Servidio-Italiano, provide me with the knowledge, resources and confidence to ask the right questions, make informed decisions and better manage the treatment of my disease. The CCAC provides a positive and supportive environment where colorectal patients come together to gather information and share their unique experience in this journey. Filomena is always there to listen and provide guidance, and to advocate on behalf of colorectal cancer patients.

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I am proud to be having “Andrew’s Walk to Support Cancer Patients” on September 17th, 2016 with all of the money raised going to help the support groups at CCAC. I know first hand what a difference they can make in this battle against colorectal cancer.

To make a donation click here

Becoming a volunteer for the CCAC can help us save lives. Maybe even yours.

Becoming a volunteer for the CCAC can help us save lives. Maybe even yours.

b8b5b063f881516dcc09c7cf26ed1d55 While it’s true that people with firsthand colorectal cancer experience are more inclined to join the fight against the disease, anyone can play a role in and impact the battle that the CCAC continues to fight daily.

Whether you are a cancer survivor or care about someone living with cancer, you have valuable knowledge and experience that can help shape the experience of others with compassion and understanding. By becoming a CCAC volunteer, you can use your cancer experience in a positive way. Not only will it impact someone else’s life, it will positively affect your own.

Why volunteer?

• Build relationships – Your experience can help others deal with their journey
• To create hope and inspire patients and caregivers in their fight against cancer
• Widen your support network – It’s a great way to deal with your own cancer through shared experiences
• Your involvement can help save lives

Ways to volunteer

We offer a flexible range of ways to become involved, no matter how much time or the skills you have to share. Our volunteer opportunities include assisting with fundraising activities, healthy living education/promotion, creating awareness about prevention, patient or family support or office work assistance if you are in the Montreal area.

Cancer support groups

Trained volunteer facilitators lead support groups for people with colorectal cancer and their families. Our programs offer critical information on the disease and its management, as well as emotional and practical support to patients and their families to help them find ways to cope while undergoing the journey.
Awareness and education.

Spreading the word about symptoms and prevention is key to early detection and survival, particularly with the growing rates of those under 50 being diagnosed. We constantly need people to help raise awareness about colorectal cancer and to provide education about prevention and screening. Whether it be at CCAC organized events (table tops or at a Giant Colon Tour stop), hosting your own event or via social media, it’s easy and all are welcome.

Fundraising

Like most non-profit organizations, we rely on donations and money collected from fundraising events to maintain the services and programs we offer for patients and their families. There are organized CCAC events scheduled throughout the year that you can participate in or like many of our supporters have done in the past you can create your own within your own community. The CCAC will support you with any promotional or educational materials that you require. Previous volunteer hosted events include; golf/baseball tournaments, luncheons, dinners, concerts, fashion shows, movie nights, art exhibitions and auctions.

Testimonial

13413841_10154115661646422_686387621_n“Having colorectal cancer running in my family, I wished to help raise awareness of this life taking disease, and did so by being a volunteer for the CCAC for quite a few years now. With the equal participation and support of my boyfriend, we have taken part of many events hosted by the association to bring awareness to one of the most preventable diseases, if caught early. It has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of our lives and we can only hope that we have brought and will continue bringing awareness to people. Early screening can save your life, so literally, go get your butt checked.” Tam & Max

For more volunteer information please contact Frank Pitman at frankp@colorectal-cancer.ca.

Becky de Champlain – “Life is full of challenges, but no challenge is insurmountable”

Becky de Champlain – “Life is full of challenges, but no challenge is insurmountable”

Becky de Champlain “Colon cancer is often silent and insidious – I can attest to that. At only 30 years of age and with virtually no symptoms or family history I was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. I owe a debt of gratitude to my family doctor who by accident (or perhaps divine intervention) ticked a box for a lab test on some routine bloodwork that came back suspicious for colon cancer. She, as well as several specialists, tried to reassure me that it was very unlikely that at my age I could have such a disease. But my insistence on having further testing was justified when a tumour was detected in my colon during a colonoscopy.

A whirlwind of more tests and doctor appointments followed. Despite metastases (tumours which spread outside the colon) being detected in my liver and lymph nodes, my doctors were confident that with surgery and chemotherapy I would have a good chance of overcoming this disease. And so it began. In February 2010 I had surgery to remove half my colon and two-thirds of my liver. After six weeks of recovery I started on a six-month course of chemotherapy. This proved hard on my body and very challenging on my mind and spirit. On the bright side of things, the time off of work afforded me more time to spend with my young son (who was not even two when I was diagnosed) and when I felt well we enjoyed lots of quality time at our family cottage.

Now, two years later I am doing well and despite a setback last year when another tumour was found in my liver, the outlook remains good. It will be years before I know whether I am cancer free and so I continue to live on a roller-coaster of blood tests and scans searching for any signs of return of cancer in my body. I credit the support of dear friends, family and colleagues with helping me through the tough times. I am committed to fundraising and raising awareness of colon cancer screening. I have benefitted from the support and education programs offered by the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada since becoming a member shortly after my diagnosis. I am proud to be involved for a second year with the Get Up There ski challenge which provides generous funds to cancer organizations to help continue public awareness campaigns.

I have been cancer free for over five years. I had my second baby in 2013, three years after my diagnosis, so I have two boys now. And I am completing my masters in nursing this year.

Life is full of challenges, but no challenge is insurmountable. I am looking forward once again to reaching the top of Wentworth Mountain with family and friends by my side.”

My Name is Cathy Trottier, I am 42 and this is my story …

My Name is Cathy Trottier, I am 42 and this is my story …

ct My Name is Cathy Trottier, I am 42 and this is my story…

My husband and I returned from a trip to Mexico in December of 2013 and I found myself violently ill with a stomach bug shortly after. I never fully bounced back from that and was generally unwell for the balance of 2014. I felt so ‘off’ that I stopped going for walks, playing baseball, riding my bike, swimming, etc. and was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease in November 2014. I hoped within a few weeks of starting a strict gluten-free diet that I would feel like a million bucks, but the opposite happened and my symptoms seemed to get worse.

I read somewhere to see a doctor if you notice changes with your stool lasting more than a week or two, so I made an appointment to get in asap. A colonoscopy quickly followed and I was diagnosed March 12th, 2015 with Colorectal Cancer (ironically during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month). After a CT-Scan and an MRI, it was determined to be Stage 3. This meant; 5 weeks of a daily radiation/chemo pill treatment combo, bowel surgery including the addition of an ileostomy bag, followed by 3 months of chemotherapy and hopefully (under a best case scenario) a second surgery to remove the bag.

The surgery that removed a portion of my rectum determined that 1) my radiation treatment was very successful so I didn’t need the planned chemo treatment after all and 2) the ileostomy was in fact temporary. I am happy to sum up that everything turned out extremely well in my case.
How did I get through all that? While it’s hard to say because last year was a blur, but a few things are clear;

• Taking one day at a time was instrumental because the big picture was extremely overwhelming
• My Husband and Son were consistent with their love and support and helped with all the day to day things as needed
• The Doctors and Nurses that made up my ‘Health Care Team’ were phenomenal day in and day out
• My friends, family and co-workers were my never ending cheerleaders especially since I continued to work full-time during treatment, albeit from home
• I was even lucky enough to get welcomed into a support group made up of other young local Colorectal Cancer survivors that dropped everything to help me understand what to expect through every single step of my journey (and still do)
• My faith helped me to stay calm, positive and grounded

While this is very out of character for me to step out into the public eye, I am participating in Push for Your Tush locally to raise funds and awareness since I now feel compelled to share my story. Knowing that early detection is key, I ask everyone that reads this to look before you flush to understand what is normal for you and to not ignore or dismiss any noticeable changes. I looked, acted and am extremely blessed that my story/journey continues…

Young Survivor’s Week – Bravery comes in many forms, thank you Jamie Mead for your story!

Young Survivor’s Week – Bravery comes in many forms, thank you Jamie Mead for your story!

jamie 2 It was a day I will never forget. Two weeks shy of my 28th birthday I was awoken after my colonoscopy and told I have stage four colon cancer. My heart sunk. How is this possible? Just two months ago I was at the walk-in clinic complaining of acid reflex and now I have cancer?

I was quickly introduced to a surgeon who informed me that my liver was riddled with tumours and unfortunately I was inoperable. I quickly kicked everyone out of the room as I felt myself running out of air. Five minutes later he came back in and I sat up from the fetal position and said, “No. I believe you will operate. I challenge that you will see the inside of my body within 1 or 2 years.” After four rounds of chemotherapy, to my surprise, I was right. I underwent two operations that year and since then I have had five, with my sixth coming this June. jamie 1 I have been told not once, but twice that I am inoperable. I have had my surgeon admit that he never thought he would see me again after our first meeting. But with determination, a positive attitude and the will to keep on living – I have proved everyone wrong. I know this is not the end of my battle against colon cancer. I will be fighting this for the rest of my life, but that is ok. I am not thankful for cancer – that would be crazy – I am thankful for other things it has given me. I have a greater appreciation for all those who surround my life. It has made me into a person I didn’t know existed.

For my own therapeutic reasons I started a blog to help drain the chaos that exists in my brain. It is found at www.youngfemalecancer.com. I openly share my experiences and thoughts – and welcome anyone to interact with me through there.

Keep on fighting!

RECENT STUDIES SHOW COLORECTAL CANCER DOES NOT AGE DISCRIMINATE. YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO BE AWARE & PREPARED

RECENT STUDIES SHOW COLORECTAL CANCER DOES NOT AGE DISCRIMINATE. YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO BE AWARE & PREPARED

butt pic Reports from across Canada show doctors are observing a new trend in colorectal cancer that cannot be ignored nor explained – a “rapid increase” in the number of patients being diagnosed under age 50.
A new study, led by doctors from the University of Toronto, looked at Canadian Cancer Registry data from 1997 to 2010 and found that incidences of colorectal cancer rose by:

• 0.8 per cent per year for people in their 40s,
• 2.4 per cent per year for people in their 30s, and
• 6.7 per cent per year for those between ages 15 and 29.

Thankfully awareness campaigns and advocacy to increase the accessibility of colorectal cancer screening has been responsible for declining rates in people over 50 in the last few years. However, these new reports are a reminder that there is still so much more work to be done.

This year, the CCAC was proud to join forces with the Never Too Young Coalition (N2Y), a branch of Colon Cancer Alliance. Their mandate, like ours, is to raise awareness about the disease, preventative screening and to provide much needed information to the younger Canadian population about the signs and symptoms of the disease, particularly how to avoid a misdiagnosis, which according to studies is occurring more frequently due to the age shift.

Although it is evident that more research is needed to determine the cause of this age shift, we are encouraging doctors and patients to become more vigilant and conscience as the signs and symptoms of colon cancer can often be mistaken for other, less serious issues. The longer it takes for a diagnosis the harder it is treat, which is key in survival.

Risk factors for colon cancer

The fact that incidence is rising only among younger people suggests “lifestyle” factors are at play, but the evidence of this is not concrete. Pay attention to your body and if you have any of these risk factors, talk to your doctor – take charge of your health!

• Family history of colon cancer or polyps: First and second degree relatives of a person with a history of colon cancer and polyps are more likely to develop this disease, especially if the relative had the cancer at a young age
• Genetic Alterations: Changes in certain genes increase your risk of colon cancer. Those with syndromes like hereditary nonployposis colon cancer (HNPCC or Lynch Syndrome) or Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) should be screened earlier than 50
• Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease
• African Americans should be screened starting at age 45, or sooner if you have other risk factors or symptoms
• Lifestyle factors, like eating processed and red meats, a lack of dietary fibre, a lack of physical exercise, obesity, alcohol, smoking, diabetes and genetics

June 5-11 will mark the second annual “Young Survivors Week,” connecting with patients, survivors, and caregivers to create buzz around young onset colon cancer. Join us and N2Y as we spread the word via social media by sharing stories and information to help others understand that IT can happen to anyone.

Sophie’s Run at Lakeridge

Kirsten Burgomaster, Clinical Director of the R.S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre (DRCC) and Lesley Bovie from Communications at Lakeridge Health, welcomed Nicole Chuchmach and and Natalie Atkinson in the main lobby of the hospital on April 20th, 2016.

Great things happen every day at the cancer centre. April 20th was certainly no exception as they welcomed Sophie’s Run for a quick rest stop. Nicole and her running mate Natalie are running from Humber College to Ottawa this spring to raise awareness and funds for the Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada. Nicole lost her mother Sophie to the disease in 2006. Here she is ringing the gong in our radiation treatment area in her memory, and meeting the amazing Henry Westerhof who is undergoing treatment now at our centre. We thank Nicole and Natalie for visiting the cancer centre and we wish them well on the rest of their adventure.

About Sophie’s Run

Sophie’s Run II is an event to promote and educate students about colorectal cancer. It was launched by Nicole Chuchman, a professor of Hospitality and Tourism at Humber, who started running to cope with the grief if her mother’s death from colorectal cancer.

This is not the first time Nicole has run for the cause. Her original run was back in 2008. This year, she took off from Humber North campus to Ottawa on April 14, 2016.

“It’s raising more awareness which is what this disease needs because my mom passed away because she ignored her symptoms,” said Chuchman. “So the more education we can get out of it, the better.”