Cancer is something that affects almost everyone. Whether it’s a family member, a friend or a co-worker, cancer takes thousands of lives each year. The Canadian Cancer Society cites cancer as the leading cause of death in the country. The upcoming Relay for Life on Friday is one way to help try to eliminate cancer.
In 2011, the Saskatchewan Relay for Life raised $3.1 million for the cancer society. The annual fundraiser accounts for almost 50 per cent of all funds to the cancer society, which is the leading researcher to preventing cancer in Canada. The nationwide relay is the largest fundraiser for the society in Canada.
Statistics prove that the research is working. From 1988 to 2007, 100,000 lives were saved as a result of the dropping death rate. The rates dropped by 21 per cent in men and nine per cent in women. Overall death rates dropped in all four major cancers — lung, colon, breast and prostate.
Yet the cancer society is still anticipating 186,400 new cancer cases and 75,700 deaths this year. That doesn’t include the 81,300 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer. What’s more is that as Canadians are getting older and the population is expanding, the rate of new cancers is steadily rising.
If nothing else, these numbers prove that while the research is helping cancer cases, there is still a long way to go. There are 226 different known types of cancer. Finding a cure is almost impossible, but it is even more impossible without funds allocated to support research. The cancer society might not be able to cure all cancers, but it can help to save lives and support the many people who live with cancer.
This year, there are fewer teams registered in the Relay for Life than in 2011 — only 23 compared to last year’s 27. If the relay should ever be cancelled, that would result in the loss of $3.1 million to research.
Ultimately, that would cost lives and ordinary people can make a difference.
The Relay for Life is a perfect opportunity to be one of the heroes.
All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.