For the most part, Hailey is just like any other seven-year-old. However, this past December, she was diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Hailey's wish is to have a pop-up camper so that she can go camping with her family and friends and play in the woods, stare up at the stars, stay up past her bedtime.
Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP) is a landmark pan-Canadian population health research platform that can be used to explore how genetics, environment, lifestyle and behaviour interact and contribute to the development of cancer and other chronic diseases. Researchers in Canada and around the globe now have access to health and lifestyle surveys and in the future will have the ability to link it to health outcome data and even biological samples like blood and toenail clippings.
This year, I decided to participate in my first Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. I want to bring hope to those living with cancer and the people who surround them. I was given three to five years to live, and today I am living stronger, healthier and happier then ever, five years after my diagnosis.
In 2010, our five-year-old daughter, Lily, was diagnosed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Whenever Lily was released from the hospital, and the weather cooperated, we headed outside. We really started to depend on these adventures, these outdoor excursions, to get us through the bad days and help Lily along her road to recovery. According to the National Environmental Educational Foundation, exposure to nature can reduce stress levels by as much as 28 per cent in children. Health benefits of nature may include reduced anxiety and depression, increased energy and immunity, decreased stress and improved mental health.
Today it seems that we're bombarded with news about some great new medical hope or fear of the moment, and I worry that we are all suffering from health-information overload. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps we can take when reading medical news that will help us to put it all in perspective.
That is, indeed, an astoundingly expensive drug. It's bad enough that you have to deal with cancer, but these financial concerns must be adding to your stress. You can rest assured there are various programs to help Ontario residents who can't afford the price of their medications. And each regional cancer-treatment centre has specially-trained staff to guide patients and their families through the various application processes.
As someone who has had both leukemia and measles as an indirect result of chemotherapy, I'm a firm believer in Western medicine (though I do enjoy organic kale juice from time to time). Watching the vaccination furor from afar, I've been thinking about the connection between this debate and the two First Nations girls from Ontario who opted to have "natural" therapies to treat their Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia instead of proven chemotherapies.
Young women with breast cancer present our healthcare professionals with difficult cases. They are often diagnosed with aggressive forms of breast cancer that require tough therapies. And the powerful treatments needed to stop the cancer can cause many complex side effects for young women, including early menopause.
For 70 to 80 per cent of Canadians, palliative care is not available and hence, not a real choice. A dear friend of mine recently died of brain cancer. She spent her final months in hospice, where she received exquisite end-of-life care. How might this kind of scenario play itself out in the many Canadian settings that do not have adequate palliative care?