EDITORIAL: Rallying to kick cancer’s butt

The number of women, and men, who are surviving breast cancer is only growing.

The number of women, and men, who are surviving breast cancer is only growing. It used to be that at events like the Run for the Cure, there would only be a small handful of survivors leading the parade in their pink T-shirts, while a swarm of white event shirts followed in support. But the lineup of survivors is only growing.

It’s inspiring for anyone to see more and more people kicking cancer’s butt, and not just breast cancer, but many forms of cancer.

But it is also due to the fact that there has been an increase in the number of new cases over the last 30 years, according to the Canadian Cancer Society.

An estimated 191,300 new cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in Canada this year. More than half of those will be lung, breast, colorectal and prostate cancers.

Such sobering statistics may seem scary, but there is a reason, and some of it is positive (as positive as anything can be when it comes to the nasty c-word).

The growth can largely be attributed to a growing and aging population, rather than to an increase in cancer risk (Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014).

Some of the increase is also related to increased detection, which can be life-saving.

Breast cancer continues to be the most common cancer diagnosis in women in Canada over the age of 20 and the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Canadian women, after lung cancer, according to the CBCF.

However, fewer women in Canada are dying from breast cancer today than in the past. Breast cancer deaths have decreased by 43 per cent since they peaked in 1986 due to earlier detection through regular mammography screening, advances in screening technology, and improved treatments.