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Quebec trails behind rest of Canada on cancer research, prevention: cancer organizations

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Groups working in the field of cancer are once again calling for the fight against the disease to be given higher priority, and for Quebec to invest more in prevention, research and treatment.

At a joint press conference in Montreal on Thursday, the Quebec Cancer Foundation, the Cancer Research Society and Procure also called for more accurate and up-to-date statistics to better guide research and prevention campaigns.

Marco Decelles, Executive Director of the Quebec Cancer Foundation, noted that in 2022, 58,400 Quebecers were diagnosed with cancer, and 22,200 died of it.

Despite these statistics, he described cancer as largely forgotten by the Quebec government.

These groups are calling for a "global strategy," given that cancer is the leading cause of death in Quebec. They are demanding a real action plan against cancer, with precise, up-to-date data, objectives, prevention, screening, research and better access to treatment.

"There is an urgent need for action. We've had several meetings, and we expect to have a plan as ambitious as a battery factory for vehicles," said Manon Pepin, president and CEO of The Cancer Research Society.

Laurent Proulx, president and CEO of Procure, an organization dedicated to prostate cancer, points out that black men are twice as likely to develop prostate cancer, for example. Such statistics make it possible to better target prevention campaigns in certain regions or to certain groups, he argues.

These groups maintain that other Canadian provinces are more "proactive" than Quebec in the fight against cancer.

They make no secret of the fact that they want the Quebec government to intervene through them.

"Promoting healthy lifestyles, healthy eating, restful sleep, (combating) stress, is something we can easily invest in and have an impact on today. It's not something that takes 25 years to develop. It's something you can do. But you have to put up the money. We need to call on organizations like ours that are in the field," pleaded Decelles.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Oct. 12, 2023.

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