Hope for advanced cancer patients expressed through the lens of Canadian award-winning photojournalists
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MONTREAL, June 1, 2017 /CNW/ - Cancer is changing. As research uncovers new treatments, the time that some Canadians live with advanced cancers is also changing.1 Through documentary-style photo essays, a new impactful campaign called #CancerChanged will bring to life the stories of Canadian men and women living with advanced cancers who are experiencing life beyond the curve to highlight hope and survivorship through the lens of Canadian award-winning photojournalists.
Launched in time to celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day on June 4, #CancerChanged gives an authentic glimpse into the lives of people living longer with advanced cancer to foster hope, understanding and peer-to-peer support. #CancerChanged aims to drive awareness that cancer survival is changing from the time of diagnosis to the balance of a person's life.2
Storytelling: One survivor at a time
"When the doctor told me I had advanced cancer, I was shocked. I had no symptoms, I felt healthy yet I was being told I had maybe only a year to live," said Lorne Cochrane, 57, of Atmore, Alberta. "It's been five years now and I'm thankful for advances in medical research that have given me this extra time."
Lorne got involved in #CancerChanged to help others who receive a similar diagnosis. "It's important to me to give back to the cancer community and to help others by sharing my story. I feel that hope is so important, especially for those who are facing one of the biggest challenges of their life," says Lorne. "Well I'm living proof that there is hope, that you can have more time and every extra minute should be celebrated."
Lorne's story was personified by documentary photos taken by Amber Bracken, an award-winning photojournalist and recent recipient of a 2017 World Press Award and runner up at Canada's 2017 National Newspaper Awards for best news photo.
The #CancerChanged campaign includes documentary photographs of people living with advanced cancer in Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec taken by award-winning Canadian photojournalists: Amber Bracken; Della Rollins, photojournalist and contributing photo editor at Maclean's magazine; John Lehmann, named photojournalist of the year in 2012 and 2013 by the News Photographers Association of Canada, and in 2014 and 2015 by the Canadian Association of Journalists; and Giovanni Capriotti, an award-winning photographic essayist, editorial photographer and videographer.
Today, some Canadians like Lorne Cochrane are "out-living expectations" in part due to research and new treatments and are able to celebrate more birthdays, more special moments with family and have more time.1
"This is a time of change and a time of hope. Cancer patients have been dreaming about hope -- and now hope is real." said Kathy Barnard, Member of CONECTed steering committee and President and Founder of Save Your Skin Foundation, the patient advocacy group that has led the creation of CONECTed. "New advances in cancer treatment have changed the outlook for many cancer patients. This extended phase is what we call "survivorship" and it poses new challenges such as how patients transition from a terminal diagnosis to a redefined 'normal' life embracing quality time and hope."
Kathy knows this firsthand, as she was told that she had terminal cancer 10 years ago. "Today we celebrate survivorship but more support is needed for patients including new ways in which health systems and workplaces must change to support those who are living longer and want to re-integrate," says Kathy. "The #CancerChanged campaign is just the beginning. We need multiple stakeholders to come together to look into these issues to fully take advantage of the hope that is being offered by a rapid progress of science. Working together, we want all Canadians to have a chance to live longer."
CONECTed is a Canadian collective of oncology patient organizations formed in 2017 to identify solutions to expand access to cancer treatments in a sustainable cancer care eco system through innovation, collaboration, exchange, and education with key stakeholders.
With a unified and cohesive voice, this network aims to improve patient outcomes through appropriate cancer care delivery and organization. Their goal is to work together to promote the value of innovative medicines, companion diagnostics and supportive care through greater education and understanding.
About National Cancer Survivors Day
Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada.3 National Cancer Survivors Day is held annually in hundreds of communities around the world on the first Sunday in June as a celebration for those who have survived, an inspiration for those recently diagnosed, a gathering of support for families, and an outreach to the community. To highlight the complex emotional and medical needs of those living with advanced cancers, cancer patient groups are encouraging others to join in the celebrations of survivorship. 4
About Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co. is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb Company, a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. For more information about Bristol-Myers Squibb global operations, visit www.bms.com. Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co. has been delivering innovative medicines for serious diseases to Canadian patients in the areas of cardiovascular health, oncology, immunoscience and virology for over 80 years. Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada Co. employs over 300 people across the country. For more information, please visit www.bmscanada.ca.
1 Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2016. Available at: https://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/publications/Canadian%20Cancer%20Statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2016-EN.pdf. Accessed May 4, 2017
2 National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship. Our Mission. https://www.canceradvocacy.org/about-us/our-mission. Accessed April 2017.
3 Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2016. Available at: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/cd-mc/cancer/css-ssc-summary-resume-eng.php Accessed: April 30, 2017
4 National Cancer Survivors Day. Available at: http://www.ncsd.org/about-us. Accessed May 8, 2017
SOURCE Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada
For further information: Monica Flores, Public Affairs Lead, Bristol-Myers Squibb Canada, 514.333.3845, [email protected]; Fiona Buchanan, Account Supervisor, GCI Canada, 416.486.5921, [email protected]