SCFC SCAW News Release d1. 18.06.16

sarcomacancer.ca

SCFC Sarcoma Cancer Awareness Week

News Release – DRAFT June 16, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW RESEARCH PROVIDES A GLIMPSE INTO WHAT CANADIANS KNOW ABOUT SARCOMA

CANCERS… AND WHAT THEY DON’T!

Ground-breaking Research Project Announced During Annual Awareness Week

SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS

• Even among Canadians with direct experience with cancer, one quarter (25%) have never

heard of sarcoma cancer. For those without direct experience with cancer, this increased to

43%.

• When presented among other cancers, sarcomas are perceived to receive the least amount of

funding for research (3%). Breast, lung, and prostate cancer perceived to receive the most.

• Of those who have at least heard of sarcoma cancer, 50% did not know who was most at risk

of diagnosis. Of the same subset, 47% did not know where the next research innovation for

sarcoma would be.

TORONTO, ON, June 18, 2018 – According to new research conducted by the Sarcoma Cancer

Foundation of Canada (SCFC), Canadians still don’t have a full grasp on a disease that doesn’t

differentiate between age, gender, and lifestyle. The bottom line is that those without a direct

connection to sarcoma still don’t know enough when it comes to who is at risk, where it strikes in the

body or what innovation looks like for this rare type of cancer. During the annual awareness week

(June 18 – 22), the foundation wants to spotlight sarcoma cancers, improve understanding, and

announce a new funding project that could change the way the medical community looks at testing.

It is not all bad news when it comes to how much Canadians know about sarcomas. In contrast to

survey data collected by the foundation in 2014, 34 per cent of Canadians currently have zero

knowledge of the disease, compared to 56 per cent just four years ago. Good news - it is sinking in

and more Canadians are armed with the facts and better prepared to respond. Although there has

been progress, it is not good enough and there is still work to be done.

“Awareness and improved understanding is key and our recent survey truly validates that,” says Diana

Arajs, President of the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada. “The foundation applauds all of the

sarcoma champions across Canada who are driving important conversations and raising money for

much needed research. Funds go directly into initiatives that can be game-changers for the disease

and we are excited to announce SCFC’s newest research project.”

Screening and testing innovations are pushing the boundaries of discovery each and every day. This

along with important targeted and immunotherapy treatments, the sarcoma story is getting better.

The majority of Canadians (47 per cent) are uncertain about the next major research innovation,

according to the survey, so SCFC’s research announcement is well timed.


SCFC Sarcoma Cancer Awareness Week

News Release – DRAFT June 16, 2018

The research endeavor will evaluate new testing methods for targeted sarcoma treatments that have

the ability to improve patient outcomes and potentially revolutionize the way sarcoma is diagnosed

and treated. This brand new research initiative will give patients with rare forms of soft tissue

sarcoma (STS) faster, simpler, and more accurate diagnoses, so that their treatment can get started

sooner. Since STS is not just one disease - there are over 50 types - patients often need to undergo a

great deal of invasive testing, including surgical biopsies, to be diagnosed accurately.

Led by a collaborative team of scientists at Sinai Health System's Christopher Sharp Cancer Centre and

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, the research will use next generation sequencing technologies to

analyze the blood of patients with sarcoma, seeking distinctive 'signatures' that reveal their tumours'

specific mutations. With this detailed insight into the tumour's characteristics and weaknesses,

oncologists will be able to develop a blood test that allows them to diagnose rare types of STS with

precision, and better guide treatment decisions.

This simple and minimally invasive "liquid biopsy" could spare patients from undergoing invasive

surgical biopsies to diagnose their tumour. Patients will to able to start treatment sooner (and with

less stress to their body), and oncologists will be able to monitor the patient easily, using a simple

blood test to determine if the tumour is shrinking.

Arajs remarks, “the patients we speak with every day inspire us to contribute in ways that can have

positive and meaningful impacts on their lives. We look forward to research outcomes and continuing

to support this strong and dedicated community of patients, caregivers and family.”

About the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada

The SCFC was founded in 2010 in memory of Vera Arajs and other Canadians who have lost their lives

to sarcoma cancers. We are a volunteer-run national organization supporting patients and their

families, while working with Canada's leading researchers in their efforts to eradicate sarcoma

cancers.

It is our mission to connect patients and their families with the best medical information and

community resources, to ease the process of dealing with a sarcoma cancer diagnosis and treatment.

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For more information please contact:

Ethan Pigott

416-558-2783

info@sarcomacancer.ca

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