Tour de Rock 2023: Impact - Canadian Cancer Society

Our research

Research has led to new and more effective treatments for childhood cancers and an increase in the number of children who survive into adulthood. CCS is the largest national charitable funder of childhood cancer research in Canada.Over the past decade, the Canadian Cancer Society has invested more than $35 million specifically towards childhood cancer research,including the following projects:

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600

Children go to Camp Goodtimes per year

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13%

Increase in survival rate thanks to research

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$52M+

Raised in total from Cops for Cancer

Research highlights

Making the mental health of our children a priority

A CCS-funded study led by Dr Sumit Gupta has found that childhood cancer survivors had more medical visits for a mental health complaint compared to the general population, indicating that they were at higher risk of developing mental health challenges. The most common struggles faced by survivors of childhood cancer were depression and anxiety. By identifying a need and a gap in care guidelines, studies such as this are crucial to convince policymakers to direct more resources to support the mental health of childhood cancer survivors and their families.

Breakthrough discovery, changing the future

A breakthrough discovery enabled by CCS funding could dramatically change the way we diagnose and treat the most common brain tumour in children. Dr Michael Taylor and his team showed for the first time that medulloblastoma can spread through the blood, with tumour cells circulating through the body and returning to the brain to establish a secondary tumour. Most medulloblastoma deaths are caused by tumours that have spread so, by understanding how the cancer spreads, researchers can now search for weak spots where they can disrupt the tumour cells’ journey and prevent secondary tumours. Also based on this discovery, doctors in the future could get a tumour biopsy by taking a non-invasive blood sample instead of performing brain surgery. Dr Taylor’s research could not only help save lives, but it could also help people with medulloblastoma have a better quality of life.

Expanding treatment options for multiple myeloma

Each day, roughly 9 Canadians are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer that starts in the blood. While multiple myeloma often responds to treatment at the beginning, in most cases, the cancer comes back or relapses in a form that is more difficult to treat. As a result, only roughly 4 in 10 people with multiple myeloma will survive for more than 5 years past their diagnosis. Now, a clinical trial conducted by the CCS-funded Canadian Cancer Trials Group has provided evidence that a new treatment approach is safe and effective to treat relapsed or treatment-resistant multiple myeloma. The approach, which combines three drugs in a once-a-week schedule, led to an overall response rate of 85%, with nearly 1 in 3 people having a complete response. The researchers also found that this treatment plan was tolerated well by the study participants, with relatively few and minor side effects. Even though this study did not directly compare this new treatment plan with existing standards of care, the findings point to it being a safe and effective option for people with relapsed multiple myeloma for whom existing treatments no longer work. The once-a-week dosing schedule is also more convenient for the individual receiving care, improving their satisfaction and quality of life.

a group of campers smiling by the water

Camp Goodtimes

Funds raised at Cops for Cancer events help support our national cancer support system for families affected by cancer like Camp Goodtimes, a medically-supervised recreation experience for children and teens affected by cancer and their families.

Learn more about Camp Goodtimes

Camp Goodtimes storytellers

A father stands with his hands on his son’s shoulders while they both smile.

"Camp Goodtimes allowed us to be a family even with the complicated aspect of cancer treatment. We were able to relax and have fun as a family! At camp we were able to connect with other families who have gone through similar things and build a community."

-2022 Family Camp Participant

Three people sit cross legged on a dock with their backs to the viewer making peace signs with their hands.

"Camp Goodtimes allowed us to make space for our family this summer. Between treatment, and other children and work it's been really difficult to find time just to be together and enjoy being a family and our week at Family Camp gave us that gift."

-2022 Family Camp Participant

A woman holds her daughter close as they smile and hug.

“Camp Goodtimes is a highlight for our children every summer. At camp they make new friends, reconnect with old friends and feel comfortable in a safe environment where the focus isn't all about cancer. They can be kids and enjoy all that camp has to offer. The staff and volunteers go above and beyond to ensure a fabulous time is had by all.”

-2022 Kids Camp Parent

Pediatric Family Counselling Service

In 2019, Pedal for Hope, in collaboration with the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario, funded a new professional counselling program by the Canadian Cancer Society that helps Peterborough and Durham area families who have a child with cancer. Under the stress of a child’s diagnosis, many parents wish for professional support and strategies to know what to do and how to take care of everyone’s needs going forward on this journey.

No family can be totally prepared for a child’s diagnosis and the impact it has. Funding from Pedal for Hope helps CCS provide professional counselling to parents, at no cost to them, on ways to keep the family strong, talk with their children about cancer and take care of everyone in the family.

In 2021, the program was expanded to create the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre AfterCare Clinic, that serves thousands of young adult survivors of pediatric cancer. On referral from the AfterCare Clinic, the program provides private professional counselling, at no cost to them, to address the long-lasting emotional and practical problems resulting from cancer, the treatments, and the impact the whole experience can have their lives.

Pediatric Family Counselling Service storytellers

Hearing that your child has cancer is devastating. And it is especially difficult when parents have no one to help them cope with the fear, anxiety and depression that follows. The Canadian Cancer Society has stepped in to organize accessible, professional counselling meeting patient and family needs on the family’s terms. Your generous donations are making it possible for families to better help their child deal with their cancer and survivors of childhood cancer to heal.

- Sandy Nutall, Director, Strategic Projects, Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario

It takes no stretch of the imagination at all to think about what it would be like to have your child diagnosed with cancer. It changes everything, and its impact radiates out to everyone in that child's life. Families need unprecedented amounts of information, support, tools, resources and an unending circle of people who care. Cops for Cancer defines the essence of that circle, and the Pediatric Family Counselling Program generously funded by the Pedal for Hope program is just one important way they support children and their families.

- Holly Bradley, Director, Support Programs, National Support Programs, Canadian Cancer Society

Advocacy

We advocate to governments and shape health policies to save lives and make living with cancer easier for children and families across Canada. We do this by:

  • Raising awareness at schools about cancer prevention and healthy living
  • Taking a stand on important pediatric cancer issues
  • Influencing government to adopt policies that help children and families living with cancer and beyond.

Inspiring students and schools

Cops for Cancer has inspired thousands of schools and students across British Columbia for over 25 years. Cops for Cancer participants use their platform as role models in their communities to support children living with and beyond cancer and raise awareness about healthy living and cancer prevention. In 2022, Cops for Cancer connected with 100 elementary and secondary schools in over 80 BC communities.

Advocating for change

The Canadian Cancer Society has been advocating for better support for caregivers of children living with cancer for more than 15 years. Over the years, we were able to work with the government to shape significant changes to the Caregiver Benefit, the EI benefits for Parents of Critically Ill Children and the Compassionate Care Benefits.

Protecting our children from tobacco and vaping

Thanks to your support, advocacy work led by the Canadian Cancer Society is helping to protect youth in Canada from the harms of tobacco and vaping. In 2021, the federal government made significant progress towards holding tobacco companies accountable and adopting e-cigarettes regulations and restrictions.