YOUR generosity is helping save livesEvery cancer case which is prevented has a profound impact on families. Each and every year, donations support vital prevention initiatives and programs at CancerCare Manitoba. The funds provided help us promote the benefits of screening for common cancers. They also help us communicate the impact positive lifestyle choices can have on reducing your personal cancer risk.
We now know one in two of us will be diagnosed with cancer in our lifetime. This is an alarming and frightening statistic. Can you imagine how you would feel if your risk of a cancer diagnosis was much higher than the average person? This is the case for people diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, a commonly inherited condition. These individuals are often diagnosed in the prime of their life and also more likely to develop multiple types of cancers during their lifetime. Robin* was still grieving the loss of several immediate family members to cancer when she found out she tested positive for Lynch syndrome. She learned she was at a higher risk of dying from the same cancer that took her cherished loved ones. She was afraid for herself and the people she holds near and dear. This year, your investment in cancer care in our province is bringing new hope to Robin and others like her afflicted with Lynch. A new Lynch clinic opened at CancerCare in February 2018. Donors can feel very proud the clinic, one of the first of its kind in Canada, is only possible because of your generous support. The CancerCare Manitoba team implementing the clinic – Chief Medical Officer Dr. Piotr Czaykowski and clinic co-leads Dr. Christina Kim and Dr. Harminder Singh – are grateful donor investment is helping CancerCare break new ground and hopefully save many lives. “Just like you and I, people with Lynch syndrome have a lot of life to live,” says Dr. Kim. “With the new clinic up and running we’re going to be able to closely observe Robin and others like her. By doing so, we will be able to detect complications related to Lynch much earlier than if we weren’t doing this screening.” The new clinic is multidisciplinary. It includes medical oncology, a gastroenterologist and medical geneticists. “We’re going to learn a tremendous amount from each other and use that knowledge to help people live long and healthy lives,” says Dr. Kim.
Robin and others like her have undergone genetic testing to confirm they have Lynch. Other than knowing it heightens their risk of some forms of cancer, such as colorectal, until now they’ve had to rely on each other to be their own community of support. They are members of an educational group for people with Lynch which meets monthly. A few years ago, the board successfully lobbied for Lynch Syndrome awareness Day to be proclaimed in Manitoba on March 22. Even with these steps forward, Robin felt strongly that more had to be done here in Manitoba. Donors have stepped up and the clinic is truly just what Robin and others diagnosed with Lynch need. It is a coordination centre which creates a database of patients, provides them with screening and prevention recommendations, and includes an advisory panel which will keep guidelines constantly updated. “We know people like Robin and her family members are at a very significant risk for developing cancer if they have Lynch syndrome,” said Dr. Czaykowski. “Donor support is enabling us to be progressive and provide long-term and watchful guidance.”
“I don’t want to die. So I feel fortunate I can take control of this situation,” says Robin. “I’m super excited for the clinic and the hope it brings to me and my immediate family members. I am very grateful to everyone who is helping.”This proactive fight against cancer here in Manitoba is only possible because of donations. The medical team hopes the Lynch Clinic could be the first step for CancerCare to expand its program to follow other patients with genetic abnormalities and other high-risk populations. They are always looking ahead with the lens of saving lives and are so appreciative your continued generosity makes that possible.
*Due to the sensitive nature of a Lynch diagnosis, name has been changed for privacy reasons. For more information about Lynch syndrome, please refer to the following document.