Preventing cancer : What if research proved that the causes may be found in our environment

    Jack Siemiatycki, Ph.D. is appointed Holder of the Guzzo Environment-
    Cancer Research Chair of the Université de Montréal

    MONTREAL, June 3 /CNW Telbec/ - Thanks to research, significant progress
was achieved in the fight against cancer over the last decades. The following
are but a few examples of these achievements: identification of genes, even of
viruses, responsible for cancer development; less invasive surgeries; more
effective and targeted treatments that produce less undesirable side effects;
and the marketing of drugs to help prevent cancer or relapse. Today
researchers have a better understanding of the development and spreading of
cancer cells. In addition, the quality of life during and after cancer
treatments has improved, and we observe higher survival rates for many types
of cancer.
    Despite these accomplishments, which give hope for people afflicted with
this disease, cancer is still the main cause of death in Quebec. With
population ageing, the implementation of screening programs and early
detection of cancers, the Province of Quebec will experience over the next few
years a substantial increase in the number of cancer cases diagnosed. It is
even estimated that soon one person out of two will be diagnosed with cancer
during his or her lifetime.
    And what if, aside from treating the disease, we would also attempt to
prevent it by better understanding the impact of the environment - living
environment and lifestyle - on our risk of developing cancer? This is
precisely the research focus that the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de
Montréal, The Cancer Research Society and the Guzzo Family had in mind when
they created the Guzzo Environment-Cancer Research Chair of the Université de
Montréal, and when they decided to appoint Mr. Jack Siemiatycki, a professor
at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and a world-renowned
epidemiologist, as holder of the Chair.
    According to Dr. Siemiatycki: "Everyone agrees that among the four phases
of cancer control - prevention, diagnosis, treatment and palliative care - the
best and most humane approach is by far the prevention of the disease.
However, it is unfortunately the area of cancer research that is the least
developed and underfunded. There is obviously ambivalence between what people
want and the efforts invested by the scientific community. It is important to
underline the common contribution of the Guzzo Family and The Cancer Research
Society because an initiative such as the Environment-Cancer Research Chair
sends out a clear message: the environment and human health are both closely
related and the issue of cancer prevention will, among other things, need to
be based on research, which could be capable of identifying the agents and
behaviours that can cause cancer."

    The Environment-Cancer Research Chair: A partnership based on expertise,
    experience, passion and generosity

    According to Mr. Vincenzo Guzzo, Executive Vice-President & COO of
Cinémas Guzzo, although it is important to improve treatment, it is crucial to
find the causes of cancer so as to provide a more promising future for coming
generations. "Having seen my father and mother struggle and win their battle
over cancer motivated me to support cancer research. Our family is pleased and
proud to put its name and business behind this research chair, and, above all,
behind the work of Mr. Siemiatycki and his team", says Mr. Guzzo.
    "We are delighted to be associated with partners as passionate and
dedicated to cancer prevention research as the Guzzo Family and The Cancer
Research Society", points out Mr. Luc Vinet, Rector of the Université de
Montréal. "We wholeheartedly thank them for their ongoing support of the
research conducted by Mr. Siemiatycki and his team, who are working to
identify the environmental and occupational causes of this terrible scourge."
    Mr. Mario Chevrette, Ph.D., President of The Cancer Research Society,
adds: "For more than 60 years, The Cancer Research Society has supported the
funding of basic cancer research exclusively and everywhere in Canada. At the
end of 2006, it has broadened its focus with the creation of the
Environment-Cancer Fund. The objectives that were being pursued when the Fund
was established remain unchanged: 1) Adding the cancer prevention and
epidemiology components to The CRS current grants program; 2) Investing in
cancer prevention research, an area that is underfunded in Canada; 3)
Gathering scientific evidence on environmental impacts and the risks of
developing cancer; and 4) Promoting the participation of major financial
partners in this research area that requires significant investments. The
Guzzo Environment-Cancer Research Chair of the Université de Montréal is a
source of pride for The Cancer Research Society because it represents the
first major project of this Fund, which is dedicated exclusively to research
that could shed light on the impact of the environment on the risk of
developing cancer."

    About the Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine

    Measured in terms of the diversity and scope of its programs, the
Université de Montréal Faculty of Medicine is the largest medical faculty in
Quebec and the second largest in Canada. In terms of numbers of medical
students enrolled, it is the largest in Canada and the third largest in North
America. Degree candidates in the faculty regularly rank first on the Medical
Council of Canada national examinations, while its researchers are well known
for the high quality of their publications and discoveries in both fundamental
and clinical research.

    About The Cancer Research Society

    Founded in 1945, The Cancer Research Society is a national not-for-profit
organization whose mission is to fund cancer research exclusively and to offer
seed money for original ideas. The Cancer Research Society is working towards
improving the health of the population by helping Canadians to better
comprehend the causes and challenges related to cancer.
    Over the last five years, The CRS has granted over 30 million dollars to
support innovative research projects everywhere in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: Elyse Bélanger, Communications Advisor, The
Cancer Research Society, (514) 861-9227, ext. 233/(514) 794-3895 (cell.),, Julie Gazaille, Media Relations Officer, Université de
Montréal, (514) 343-6796,

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