New Research Confirms Sarcoma Is The "Forgotten" Cancer

Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada Launches The First Canadian National Awareness Week To Educate Canadians About The Disease

TORONTO, June 17, 2013 /CNW/ - New research commissioned by the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada confirms that sarcoma is the "forgotten cancer," with only one third of Canadians knowing what the disease is and a quarter saying they've never heard of it. Further, only 17 per cent of Canadians correctly identified sarcoma as the disease that claimed the life of Canadian icon Terry Fox.

The Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada -- Canada's national voice for sarcoma cancers -- is marking the third week in June as Sarcoma Cancer Awareness Week in an effort to bring some much needed attention to the disease.

"Sarcoma is a cancer that attacks the connective tissues within the body, causing tumours in both adults and children," says Diana Arajs, who founded SCFC after her mother, Vera Arajs, lost her life to the disease. "These results validate a significant education-gap for a disease that continues to have a serious impact on Canadians."

The survey, conducted by Leger Marketing, found that 25 per cent never heard of sarcoma cancer and only slightly more than one-third could correctly identify the disease. Almost 60 per cent of Canadians said they could not name the type of cancer that claimed the life of the celebrated cancer champion Terry Fox, and only 17 per cent correctly identified it as sarcoma cancer.

Sarcomas can be found anywhere in the body and do not target one particular area - this means that a person can be diagnosed in an extremity (arms or legs), internally, and even the chest and back.  Some sarcomas present in the stomach and small intestine and are referred to as gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs). Diagnosis can be a challenge when dealing with sarcomas, for example in early stage GISTs, there are typically no symptoms present and they only arise when the tumour has grown large enough to cause problems.  Progress continues to be made in terms of research and new treatments for these aggressive sarcomas that will offer Canadian patients new hope in managing the disease.

SCFC was founded in 2010 and has been active in fundraising to support leading research aimed at treating and eventually eliminating sarcoma cancer. Medical oncologist Dr. Albiruni Razak of Mount Sinai Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto has been conducting research in the area of sarcomas and was the recipient of the inaugural SCFC Clinical Fellowship.

"Sarcoma cancer has been a neglected area of research, but the tide is turning and with the support of SCFC, we are moving forward with exciting research here in Canada which leverages recent advancements and discoveries around the world," said Dr. Razak.

In March 2013, SCFC renewed its support for Dr. Razak's work by providing funding for his clinical trial of a new targeted treatment for sarcoma cancer. The new daily treatment, taken orally, prevents blood vessels from "feeding" the tumour and inhibits cancer cell division and stunts the tumour's growth.

The Foundation will also be launching an online community resource later this summer, aimed at allowing people experiencing sarcoma cancer to share information and support. In June, SCFC hosted its first annual Sarcoma Cancer Research Dinner to showcase important developments in sarcoma cancer and to raise money to support that research.

For more information about the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada and the disease, please visit, www.sarcomacancer.ca.

About the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada

The SCFC was founded in 2010 in memory of Vera Arajs and other Canadians who have lost their lives to Sarcoma cancers. We are a volunteer-run national organization supporting patients and their families, while working with Canada's leading researchers in their efforts to eradicate sarcoma cancers.

It is our mission to connect patients and their families with the best medical information and community resources, to ease the process of dealing with a sarcoma cancer diagnosis and treatment.

A survey of 1500 Canadians was completed online between June 3 and June 5, 2013 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

SOURCE: Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada

For further information:

Jennifer Runza
416.319.0014
jennifer.runza@gmail.com

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Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada

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