Health Minister to Announce Childhood Cancer Awareness Week

    TORONTO, April 18 /CNW/ - Ontario's Health Minister George Smitherman is
supporting the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario's (POGO's) initiative to
declare the week of September 17 to 21 as Ontario's Childhood Cancer Awareness
Week with an acknowledgment in the Legislature today. POGO is the Ministry's
official advisor on childhood cancer and control and recently submitted a
5-year plan for further developments to improve the pediatric cancer system in
this province, which is currently under review by the Ministry.
    Childhood Cancer Awareness Week, lead by POGO, is a collaborative effort
of Ontario's childhood cancer hospitals and community-based cancer care
organizations. It will involve various events taking place in communities
throughout the province to promote education and awareness of childhood cancer
issues, including the impact on families, emotional and financial stresses,
and survivorship issues.
    "The Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario - in collaboration with
Ontario's academic teaching hospitals and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term
Care - continues to position our province as a leader in developing and
implementing a childhood cancer care and control system, while helping to
ensure equal access to diagnosis, treatment and other services," said
Smitherman. "I want to thank POGO and its partners for mobilizing the
community to help support Ontario's children in their fight against cancer."
    During Childhood Cancer Awareness Week, POGO will also celebrate
achievements in pediatric oncology and its enduring collaboration with the
pediatric cancer community in this province. Survival rates for childhood
cancer currently exceed 75%, versus less than 60% in the mid-1970s. By the
year 2010, it is estimated that between 1 in 250 and 1 in 400 young adults
(aged 15-45) will be a childhood cancer survivor.
    "Each year in Ontario, 400 children are diagnosed with cancer and 3,000
receive active treatment and follow-up care. Cancer remains the leading
disease-related cause of death for children in our province. POGO and its
partners are working together to move pediatric cancer care treatments and
systems forward to deliver the best possible care and outcomes for patients
and their families," said Dr. Mark Greenberg, O.C., Medical Director of POGO.
    He added, "We applaud Ontario's ongoing commitment to addressing the
needs of the growing population of young cancer patients and survivors.
Childhood Cancer Awareness Week is an important opportunity to generate
much-needed support and awareness across the province."

    Dr. Mark Greenberg, O.C., is a world-renowned pediatric oncologist and
Medical Director of POGO. He is also the incumbent of the POGO Chair in
Childhood Cancer Control at the University of Toronto. Dr. Greenberg received
the Order of Canada for his work in the field of pediatric oncology and with

    Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario (POGO), founded in 1983 to champion
childhood cancer care, is a collaboration of 5 specialty pediatric oncology
hospitals, community hospitals and services that works with hospitals,
researchers, and government, as well as survivors and parents to develop new
policies and programs that improve the care of children with cancer, provide
support to their families, allocate health resources, develop innovative
research programs, and provide professional education. POGO is a partner of
the pediatric cancer institutions across the province and has built a
reputation for recommendations based on solid provincial data, scientific
evidence, and significant clinical experience. POGO has also advised other
provinces in Canada, and international communities on the development of
similar models and programs for the benefit of their pediatric cancer
populations. For more information, please visit

For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Vanessa Yakobson, (416)

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