Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cancer Study in Canada

The latest issue of Science has this report about the ambitious Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project. Here is a sample from the story:

Canada has joined the global stampede of countries gathering biological data over decades on a large population cohort in hopes of better understanding the genetic, social, and environmental factors that affect human health.

The Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project, launched last week, will follow 300,000 adults over the age of 35 for 30 years, gathering saliva, blood, urine, fecal, and toenail samples as well as answers to questions about the health effects of influences including diet, physical fitness, and environmental conditions. The goal is "a comprehensive data set for research into the causes of cancer," says Heather Bryant, vice president of cancer control for the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer in Toronto, a federally funded organization helping to lead the study. But she says the project will also "provide a platform for numerous other research topics."

The project builds on a cancer-risk study in Alberta that examined the interaction of lifestyle, behavioral, environmental, and genetic factors. Five provincial public health agencies have kicked in an initial $82 million to recruit participants in what is expected to be a $3.5-million-a-year effort. Researchers have already obtained funding to probe the effects of vitamin D in northern climes, measure compliance with public health recommendations for physical activity, and chart the effects of dietary supplements as varied as alcohol, vitamins, and traditional native diets, notes Phillip Branton, head of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's Institute of Cancer Research, who will oversee research.

And this info sheet contains some useful data on the toil of cancer in Canada:

Cancer incidence and mortality
• Cancer incidence continues to rise annually in Canada by two to three per cent, while the number
of people living with cancer is growing at least twice that rate2
• This year approximately 166,400 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer
• An estimated 40 per cent of Canadian women and 45 per cent of Canadian men will develop cancer during their lifetime2
• Canada’s growing and aging population is leading to an increase in cancer cases
• Approximately one out of every four Canadians will die from cancer
• This year approximately 73,800 Canadians will die from the disease

Cost of cancer
• At more than $12.2 billion annually, cancer is the most costly illness in losses due to premature
mortality (assessed as lost labour productivity, including wages, CPP/QPP, EI and workers
• In 2002, cancer accounted for about $17.9 billion in costs (direct and indirect) in Canada
• Hospitalization of cancer patients costs approximately $2.1 billion a year, in addition to physician
costs and drug treatment costs
• In 1998, $210 million was spent on drugs for cancer treatment