VICTORIA - All around the globe, people are marking today as the International Union Against Cancer's World Cancer Day.
This day has the goal of promoting ways to ease the global burden of cancer, and is an appropriate time to acknowledge the work of so many people to improve the care, detection, treatment and management of cancer.
Here in B.C., government, health professionals, advocates and researchers are all committed to working on behalf of the 24,000 British Columbians who will be diagnosed with cancer in 2013.
"Cancer has touched the lives of every British Columbian, whether directly or through a friend, family member or loved one," said Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. "While we are making advances with better treatment, detection and management, it is important to realize that as many as half of all cancers are preventable."
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.6 million global deaths (around 13 per cent of all deaths) in 2008. While an estimated one in three British Columbians are expected to develop some form of cancer in their lifetime, British Columbia has some of the best cancer outcomes in the world, and leads the nation in providing high-quality cancer care.
B.C. has the overall best cancer survival rates in Canada. According to 2012 estimates in the Canadian Cancer Society's Canadian Cancer Statistics report, mortality rates for all cancers combined are lowest in B.C.
In addition, B.C. men and women have the:
- Lowest overall mortality rate for all cancers in Canada.
- Lowest overall incidence rate of cancer in the country.
- Lowest incidence rate for lung and colorectal cancers.
Around 50 per cent of all cancers are preventable. By eating well, getting enough exercise, drinking responsibly and not smoking, as well as following safe sun guidelines, the risk of developing cancer can be cut dramatically.
The BC Cancer Agency provides comprehensive cancer-screening programs, such as the mammography program, free for all B.C. women aged 40 to 79, and the cervical cancer screening program. In addition, the new provincial colorectal cancer screening program will be starting in the Vancouver Island Health Authority on April 1, 2013, and will roll out to all health authorities in the province over the spring and summer of 2013.
B.C. is the first in Canada to offer complementary and integrated care through InspireHealth and Healthy Families BC. As part of the Healthy Families BC program, three new integrated InspireHealth cancer centres now have opened in Victoria, Vancouver and Kelowna, in addition to an online centre. Two new centres will be opened by 2014 in Abbotsford and Prince George to serve rural and remote parts of B.C.
The BC Cancer Agency also has opened it sixth regional cancer centre. Located in Prince George, the Centre for the North began seeing patients on Nov. 1, 2012.
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)