Cancer “Giving” - Donors Urged to be Strategic
28 April 2011 at 12:48 pm
A new report from Canada uncovers major discrepancies in cancer funding levels across the country and calls on donors to be more strategic in their giving.
Charity Intelligence Canada (Ci), a charity that helps Canadians make informed giving decisions, has released its first Cancer in Canada report.
The research report, specifically for donors, reveals gaping holes in funding for four of the deadliest cancers.
According to Ci, one in four Canadians will die of cancer, making it the leading cause of death in Canada. In 2010, cancer killed an estimated 76,000 Canadians.
There are over 200 kinds of cancer. Ci’s research focuses on the 10 types that result in the most years of life being taken away: lung; colorectal; breast; pancreatic; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; brain; leukemia; prostate; ovarian; stomach and sarcoma.
Ci says its research has uncovered startling discrepancies in funding levels for different cancer types and these discrepancies seem to have everything to do with how many people survive cancer and nothing to do with how many people cancer kills.
Four cancers – pancreatic, stomach, lung and colorectal cancers – collectively cause nearly half of Canadian cancer deaths. But the report says they receive only 15 per cent of research funding and less than 2 per cent of charity funding. In terms of potential years of life lost, these four cancers receive $63 in research funding and less than $5 in charity funding for every year of life they take.
It says contrast these amounts with breast cancer, which receives $575 in research funding and $691 in charity funding per potential year of life lost to the disease.
In other words, the report says, Canadians donate 151 times more to breast cancer-specific charities than to four of the deadliest cancers combined, based on the years of life each cancer robs from Canadians.
Karen Greve Young, the report’s co-author, who lost her mother to ovarian cancer, says breast cancer is a success story thanks to lifesaving advances in prevention, screening and treatment, and 89 percent of breast cancer patients survive the disease.
Young says pancreatic, stomach, lung and colorectal cancers need a success story too.
Ci believes that rather than hoping for a "cure", funders should think strategically about how their donations can best change the cancer landscape.
It says “cure” is a term that has had strong associations with cancer yet, oncologists and cancer researchers are generally of the belief that cancer, as a family of diseases, is unlikely to be “cured” in the way that infectious diseases such as polio and smallpox have been eradicated in the developed world.
The report, Cancer in Canada can be downloaded at http://www.charityintelligence.ca/?page=24