NL partnership to mark National Cancer Survivors Day

May 31, 2012

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PRESS RELEASE

May 31, 2012: St. John’s, NL – Eastern Health, in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society, the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation and Young Adult Cancer Canada, will celebrate National Cancer Survivors Day Sunday, June 3, with a public event at Bowring Park in St. John’s.

National Cancer Survivors Day started in the United States in 1987, and is now recognized worldwide. Local cancer survivors, along with family and friends, health professionals and members of the general public are encouraged to join with millions around the world and celebrate the fact that cancer is no longer a death sentence.

“Cancer survivors everywhere are proof that cancer can be beaten,” said Katherine Chubbs, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Eastern Health. “This day celebrates the fact that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, active and productive, and also recognizes the health care providers, family members and community advocates who supported the survivor along the way.”

The event at Bowring Park marks the first time that local health care providers, financial supporters and community advocates have joined forces to mark National Cancer Survivors Day.

“Cancer is a monumental challenge for patients and their families and friends; they need supports within the health system and the community to work for them,” said Geoff Eaton, Founder and Executive Director, Young Adult Cancer Canada. “The National Cancer Survivors Day event, which will give patients and their diverse support networks an opportunity to reconnect and celebrate, is a great example of community organizations and the health system working together for patients.”

The event on Sunday starts at 2 p.m. at the park’s amphitheatre (St. John’s Cabot 500 Theatre) with brief remarks by cancer survivor Renee Bennett and Dr. Kara Laing, Clinical Chief of Oncology, Eastern Health. This will be followed by a celebratory walk from the amphitheatre to the duck pond and then to the playground. A variety of children’s activities will be offered as well.

“We are pleased to join with our partners in celebrating National Cancer Survivors Day,” said Lynette Hillier, Executive Director, Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Care Foundation. “The immeasurable support of cancer care throughout our province has allowed for significant advances in cancer treatment and tools for our cancer care teams. National Cancer Survivors Day gives us the opportunity to celebrate the impact of those investments!”

Advances in the diagnosis and treatment for cancer are evident in the ever-increasing population of cancer survivors. In May, the Canadian Cancer Society announced that the cancer death rate in Canada is declining in all four major cancers: lung, colorectal, breast and prostate. This resulted in the saving of 100,000 lives in the two decades between 1987 and 2007.

“In Newfoundland and Labrador, an estimated 2700 new cancer cases were diagnosed in 2011, while an average of 500 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer every day,” added Matthew Piercey,Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society, NL Division.“However, it is important to note that today an estimated 62 per cent of those diagnosed will survive the disease, compared to one in three persons in the 1960s. These people are living proof that a cancer diagnosis is not an automatic death sentence.”

Sunday’s event in Bowring Park will go ahead, rain or shine. All interested participants are asked to meet at 2 p.m. at the amphitheatre, which is located behind the playground.

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