Skin Patients Unite Virtually to Talk, Learn, Share and Be Heard

    OTTAWA, Oct. 28 /CNW/ - Tomorrow is World Psoriasis Day, a day specially
dedicated to people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. For these people
and the millions of other Canadians dealing with skin conditions, there is now
a forum to find information, help, support and advocacy on the Canadian Skin
Patient Alliance (CSPA) web site.
    Skin diseases can be devastating; they can affect every aspect of a
person's life and the lives of family members; they can be life-altering,
life-shortening, and life-threatening. "Skin patients can live with terrible
feelings of shame and embarrassment, and end up distancing themselves from
family, friends and relationships. Their quality of life can suffer dreadfully
- many people leave promising careers, become reclusive and fall into
depression," said Christine Jackson, CSPA Executive Director and skin patient.
    The web site ( was developed to create
a broad and deep community for skin patients. It is an in-depth resource and
portal for skin patients, their family and friends, the public, skin patient
support groups, organizations and healthcare professionals. It is a portal for
information about skin diseases and conditions, research programs in Canada,
treatment, online advocacy, online support and provides opportunities to
create and join local groups for all Canadian skin patients.
    "Statistics suggest that everyone in Canada is likely to grapple with
some kind of skin disorder at some time in their lives. The CSPA is an
alliance 'for patients, by patients,' and our mandates are to provide support,
and education for skin patients and the public, and to build awareness about
issues that affect us all." Jackson added. "The CSPA is there to advocate on
behalf of all skin patients on issues like the serious shortage of
dermatologists, huge problems in access to medications and a general lack of
research funding."
    The advocacy tab on the web site leads to a "Take Action Now" option
which allows members of the public to send a letter expressing their concerns
directly to their elected official.
    "I believe that with today's health care system, all patients need to
take an active role in their treatments and care and the CSPA is a tremendous
resource for me. All skin patients need to come together as a group to have
our voices heard by all levels of government," said Karen Burke, CSPA member
and psoriasis patient.
    "The Canadian Skin Patient Alliance is a valuable organization for
patients and the dermatological profession. The Canadian Dermatology
Association is a proud supporter of the Alliance and believes that with the
desperate need for more dermatologists in this country, the Alliance can help
to fill gaps in information and support that exist in Canada for skin
patients," said Dr. Jack Toole, Canadian Dermatology Association Past
President and practicing dermatologist in Winnipeg, Manitoba. "At the end of
the day, only having more dermatologists will truly help alleviate the
distress of a skin disease for those patients stuck waiting for an appointment
with a dermatologist," he added.

    Skin Disorders

    With thousands of types of clinically identified skin disorders, the
range of symptoms and severity is vast. Given their broad nature and high
prevalence, skin disorders affect people of all ages and the conditions may be
acute or continue life-long as chronic conditions.
    Skin disorders can cause symptoms ranging from burning and itching to
severe emotional and social distress to physical disfigurement. Some skin
disorders are quite rare, such as pemphigus; others (like psoriasis) are quite
common (more common even than diabetes), and still others (like rash and acne)
are virtually universal.

    Skin Statistics:

    -   1 in 5 Canadians have a lifetime risk of developing skin cancer

    -   10 per cent of infants and children suffer from eczema

    -   85 per cent of all young people will experience acne, which is
        disfiguring and can cause scarring

    -   conditions such as psoriasis have been shown to have a negative
        impact on quality of life that is equivalent to a heart attack,
        diabetes, and even cancer

    The Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA)

    The CSPA is a patient-centred organization serving patient needs to
enhance care, to promote skin health and to create a community for Canadian
skin patients. Its aim is to provide resources and support and to unite all
skin patients, and help them speak with a strong voice to alleviate the pain
and suffering that skin patients endure.
    The CSPA serves as the umbrella organization for skin patients as well as
for Canadian non-profit patient groups and organizations that deal with skin
conditions and diseases. Together these groups can advocate for the needs of
all Canadian skin patients and share resources. There are a growing number of
skin disease groups affiliated with CSPA including professionals who are
members of the Canadian Dermatology Association, the Canadian Dermatology
Nurses Association, and the Canadian Dermatology Industry Association. Other
non-profit patient support organizations include the Canadian Eczema Society,
the Canadian Pemphigus Foundation, Alliance québécoise du psoriasis, the
Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation, the Alberta Society of Melanoma, the
Cutaneous Lymphoma Foundation, Canadian Burn Survivors, and the Save Your Skin

    B-Roll is available at the listed times and co-ordinates:

    Live Satellite Coordinates:

    DATE OF FEED:      Tuesday, October 28, 2008
    TIME OF FEED:      10:30 to 11:00 a.m.
    CO-ORDINATES:      Anik F2 C
                       Transponder 3B
                       Audio subcarrier 6.2 and 6.8
                       Downlink frequency 3820 vertical

    URL/Download Coordinates:

    DATE:              Tuesday, October 28, 2008
    TIME:              8:00 a.m.

For further information:

For further information: Dara Willis (Fleishman-Hillard),, (416) 645-8179; Leslie Walsh (Fleishman-Hillard),, (416) 645-8175

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