New Report Uncovers Startling Discrepancies in Cancer Funding Levels Across Canada

Findings challenge the way cancer dollars are currently allocated

TORONTO, April 26 /CNW/ - Charity Intelligence Canada (Ci), a charity that helps Canadians make informed and intelligent giving decisions, has today released its first Cancer in Canada report. This innovative research report for donors reveals gaping holes in funding for four of the deadliest cancers and identifies solutions for helping Canadians who suffer from cancer.

According to Ci, one in four Canadians will die of cancer, making it the leading cause of death in Canada.  In 2010, cancer killed an estimated 76,000 Canadians.  At an average of 15 years of potential life lost per person, this represents more than a million years of life lost to cancer last year alone. Canadians identify cancer as their top health concern - and for good reason:  it kills more Canadians than heart and stroke combined - and at younger ages.

There are over 200 kinds of cancer.  Ci's research focuses on the 10 types that result in the most years of life being taken from Canadians: lung; colorectal; breast; pancreatic; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; brain; leukemia; prostate; ovarian; and stomach; plus sarcoma, Terry Fox's cancer.

Ci's research has uncovered startling discrepancies in funding levels for different cancer types.  These discrepancies seem to have everything to do with how many people survive cancer and nothing to do with how many people cancer kills. 

Four cancers - pancreatic, stomach, lung and colorectal cancers - collectively cause nearly half of Canadian cancer deaths.  But they receive only 15 per cent of research funding and less than 2 per cent of charity funding.  In terms of potential years of life lost, these four cancers receive $63 in research funding and less than $5 in charity funding for every year of life they take.  Contrast these amounts with breast cancer, which receives a staggering $575 in research funding and $691 in charity funding per potential year of life lost to the disease.*

In other words, Canadians donate 151 times more to breast cancer-specific charities than to four of the deadliest cancers combined, based on the years of life each cancer robs from Canadians. 

"Breast cancer is a success story. Thanks to lifesaving advances in prevention, screening and treatment, 89 per cent of breast cancer patients survive the disease," said Karen Greve Young, the report's co-author, who lost her mother to ovarian cancer. "Pancreatic, stomach, lung and colorectal cancers need a success story.  There are glimmers of hope - Canadians know how to prevent lung cancer and screen for colorectal cancer - but education and advocacy are needed to keep Canadians from smoking and to encourage Canadians over the age of 50 to get regular colonoscopies or Fecal Occult Blood Tests."

"Charities entice donors with the elusive promise of 'a cure for cancer'.  Scientists don't talk about cures.  The real hope in cancer is to transform it from a disease Canadians die from to one they prevent or live with as a chronic condition.  Ci's report should help donors make this possible," said Young.

For the thousands of Canadians who lose their fight against cancer, palliative care is a huge, growing, and currently unmet need.  Ci notes that although the majority of Canadians do not wish to die in a hospital, 60 per cent do.  Not only does this defy how Canadians want their lives to end, but also hospital deaths cost four times as much as world-class hospice end-of-life care.  For those who want to fund cancer, palliative care is an opportunity to immediately improve the remaining lives of patients and relieve the burden on care givers and the health care system.

It is impossible not to notice that April is Cancer Awareness month, with many of Canada's 278 cancer charities making fundraising appeals to donors.  Ci's report encourages Canadians to make their cancer donation decisions with their heads as well as their hearts.  Without naming charities to support or avoid, it gives Canadians insights about how to make intelligent, impactful donation decisions.

Greg Thomson, Ci's Director of Research and report co-author adds, "In 1994, the year after my father succumbed to colon cancer, I travelled around the world on a bicycle to raise funds for cancer research. This report clarifies what has happened with the funds that I raised in memory of my father as well as the billions of dollars donated in the name of cancer over the past couple of decades by all Canadians.  By looking at how funds were spent in the past we can get a better understanding of how best to allocate our giving going forward."

A full copy of the Cancer in Canada report, including profiles on Ci's Top 10+ Cancers, is available at www.charityintelligence.ca.

Charity Intelligence is grateful for donations from Goldman Sachs Gives Foundation, the E.W. Bickle Foundation, David Dunlap, George Fink, Barbara Triskan, W. Brett Wilson and other donors whose financial support made this work possible. Thank you.

About Charity Intelligence Canada

Charity Intelligence Canada (Ci) is a Canadian charity that provides donors with information, empowering them to learn how their generosity can impact real change. Ci acts as an objective broker for donors, providing evidence-based research and standardized analysis to help donors make intelligent, more strategic giving decisions. Mirroring the strategies used by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and using investment models, Ci helps donors to be social investors.

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* Includes research and charity funding of specific cancer types, excluding general cancer research or charities.


SOURCE Charity Intelligence Canada

For further information:

For more information, or to schedule an interview, in Alberta, please contact Joni Avram at 403-617-5496 or joni@causeeffect.ca, and in the rest of Canada, please contact Martha Grant at 416-302-4957 or marthagrant@rogers.com.

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