Painful Truth: Cancer gives a special clarity

When you find out that you or someone you love has cancer, it’s like a bucket of cold water to the face.

The doctor is talking about treatment and options and you’re just sitting there, not really hearing much. You’ll process it later.

The good news is that most people now survive their diagnosis. Canada is really good at getting people through treatment and out the other side. We benefit from our own research and that of other nations.

But we could still be doing more. We could be doing better.

A couple years ago, I wrote about how Canada could run its own moonshot style program.

We spend what sounds like a lot of money on cancer research. The Canadian Institute of Health Research spends just over a billion total on all kinds of science, although the money doesn’t all go to cancer.

Why not spend a full billion just on cancer research? A couple years ago I suggested spending more than $6 billion on cancer – equivalent to the percentage of funding the U.S. spent on getting a man on the moon in the 1960s. Awesome as that program was, it didn’t bring us as many direct, obvious benefits as curing cancer would.

So, with a new government in Ottawa, and Langley’s Relay for Life almost here, I thought I’d renew my call.

Hey, Justin Trudeau! You want to go down in history? Make Canada the world’s heavy hitter of cutting edge medical research.

The thing about spending money on curing diseases is that you tend to be paid back over time. It’s not a cost, it’s an investment in the future.

Spend the billions. Give grants to Canadian doctors and scientists, and draw the brightest minds from around the world to work here, too.

Set them loose on a project that will improve and extend the lives of millions of people around the world, for centuries to come. A project that will along the way unlock other discoveries about the human body, DNA, and biochemistry that will have untold spinoffs.

And if (when) we finish working on treatments for the last stubborn strains of cancer? Well, there’s plenty of other worthy projects. Cystic fibrosis and AIDS, malaria and ALS, Alzheimers and multiple sclerosis.

There’s a clarity to a diagnosis of a serious disease. You realize where your priorities lie very quickly. Politicians? Please prioritize.



Just Posted

VIDEO – UPDATED: Cloverdale’s cancer fundraising country concert surpasses the mark

Organizers confirmed Sunday night that Gone Country - Here for the Cure raised more than $651,000.

Langley, Nelson, Abbotsford riders takes top spots in horse vaulting at BC Games

This weekend, athletes took to the Cowichan to deliver their best poses on horseback

2018 Aldergrove Fair photo gallery

Good times from pony rides and petting zoo to free MainStage concerts

Letter: Save the little forested area in Murrayville

A Langley letter writer is concerned development will mean the loss of greenspace.

54-40 thrills Aldergrove Fair crowd: VIDEO

54-40 were joined on stage by the band members’ dancing children, the “Aldergrove Rockettes”

BC Games: Day 3 wrap and closing ceremonies

The torch in the Cowichan Valley has been extinguished as Fort St. John gets ready to host the 2020 BC Winter Games

Police confirm girl, 8 others injured in Toronto shooting; shooter dead

Paramedics said many of the victims in Danforth, including a child, were rushed to trauma centres

Why do they do it? Coaches guide kids to wins, personal bests at the BC Games

Behind the 2,300 B.C. athletes are the 450 coaches who dedicate time to help train, compete

Gold medallists at BC Games only trained together for 1 day

Ryan Goudron, Nathan Chan, Owen Pinto and Praise Aniamaka from Zone 4 - Fraser River ran together for the first time

Five taken to hospital after one of two Coquihalla accidents

One airlifted in critical condition, four taken via ambulance in stable condition

Government sets full-time salary range for Justin Trudeau’s nanny

At its top range, the order works out to a rate of $21.79 per hour, assuming a 40-hour work week

Lower Mainland teams battle for baseball gold at BC Games

Vancouver Coastal squeaked out a 3-2 win against Fraser Valley

Canada to resettle dozens of White Helmets and their families from Syria

There are fears the volunteers would become a target for government troops

Francesco Molinari wins British Open at Carnoustie

It is his first win at a major and the first by an Italian

Most Read