SCFC SCAW News Release d1. 18.06.16

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<strong>SCFC</strong> Sarcoma Cancer Awareness Week<br />

<strong>News</strong> <strong>Release</strong> – DRAFT June 16, 2018<br />




Ground-breaking Research Project Announced During Annual Awareness Week<br />


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

heard of sarcoma cancer. For those without direct experience with cancer, this increased to<br />

43%.<br />

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

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

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

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

sarcoma would be.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arajs, President of the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada. “The foundation applauds all of the<br />

sarcoma champions across Canada who are driving important conversations and raising money for<br />

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

and we are excited to announce <strong>SCFC</strong>’s newest research project.”<br />

Screening and testing innovations are pushing the boundaries of discovery each and every day. This<br />

along with important targeted and immunotherapy treatments, the sarcoma story is getting better.<br />

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

according to the survey, so <strong>SCFC</strong>’s research announcement is well timed.

<strong>SCFC</strong> Sarcoma Cancer Awareness Week<br />

<strong>News</strong> <strong>Release</strong> – DRAFT June 16, 2018<br />

The research endeavor will evaluate new testing methods for targeted sarcoma treatments that have<br />

the ability to improve patient outcomes and potentially revolutionize the way sarcoma is diagnosed<br />

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

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

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

great deal of invasive testing, including surgical biopsies, to be diagnosed accurately.<br />

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

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, the research will use next generation sequencing technologies to<br />

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

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

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

precision, and better guide treatment decisions.<br />

This simple and minimally invasive "liquid biopsy" could spare patients from undergoing invasive<br />

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

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

blood test to determine if the tumour is shrinking.<br />

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

positive and meaningful impacts on their lives. We look forward to research outcomes and continuing<br />

to support this strong and dedicated community of patients, caregivers and family.”<br />

About the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada<br />

The <strong>SCFC</strong> was founded in 2010 in memory of Vera Arajs and other Canadians who have lost their lives<br />

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

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

cancers.<br />

It is our mission to connect patients and their families with the best medical information and<br />

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

-30-<br />

For more information please contact:<br />

Ethan Pigott<br />

416-558-2783<br />


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