New Year's Message from the President

A few years ago I listened to a TED talk by Simon Sinek, which was titled ‘Start With Why’. It contained a message that has resonated with me ever since.

The concept of ‘Start With Why’ is that there are three perspectives that define an organization: why they do what they do, how they approach what they do, and finally what they actually do. With the ‘why, how and what’, Sinek goes on to explain that many organizations are very good at what they do, and they can explain how they do it, but the truly exceptional and successful organizations start with why. The how and the what then flow from the core reasons they approach their work.

For Lung Cancer Canada, why do we exist? We know the answer to this, because lung cancer remains the number one cancer in Canada for all the wrong reasons. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in our country, the unfortunate leader of the big 4 (lung, prostate, breast and colorectal). It is the number one killer, exceeding those other three combined. It remains the most deadly cancer among women; it remains underfunded for research and it remains a disease laden with stigma.

That is why we exist, to educate, to raise awareness and to support patients and families with lung cancer across Canada in all provinces and territories. There is no other national lung cancer organization in our country, so that is why we are here. What we do and how we do it – our programs, materials, initiatives and advocacy stem from the core of why.

Last year was a banner year for lung cancer. The global community was in Toronto in September 2018 for the World Conference on Lung Cancer, and LCC had a significant presence. We heard significant new research confirming that lung cancer screening with low-dose CT scans has huge potential to save lives. We learned that immunotherapy can be effective in more lung cancer patients and situations, and we learned that new targeted therapies are emerging for sub-groups of lung cancer. Patients across the country made the Lung Cancer Canada booth a meeting place to connect and exchange conference notes.

At Lung Cancer Canada, our Patient Guide is the essential resource for lung cancer patients and caregivers. At the end of 2017 we released the new patient guide and distributed over 14,000 copies in 2018. We worked harder than ever to advocate for access to new and effective treatments. We have seen groups in multiple provinces lead initiatives in their areas, from patient support groups, the expansion of our Peer-to-Peer network, and patient summits. We released the Faces of Lung Cancer report in November and the Calendar of Hope, and we have had an unprecedented number of meetings with provincial and federal politicians.

In those meetings we advance our main 3 points:
  1. Raising awareness
  2. Promoting screening
  3. Access to care
What will 2019 bring, and how can you help? I am pleased to report that Lung Cancer Canada is growing, and we have more capability than ever to deliver our programs and mandates. We are soon to complete a governance restructuring. Our finances are good, and we continue to seek diversity in income and prudently use the dollars entrusted to us.

With that, outreach is of particular importance. We hope to be able to deliver multiple events across Canada to educate and raise awareness. In 2018 we saw successful regional summits in Halifax and Ottawa, following on from the gathering at World Lung and previous larger events in Toronto and Vancouver. In the past year, we have also doubled the amount of fundraising events throughout the country. Whether it is a patient support, awareness or fundraising event, if you would like to help us organize one in your area we need to hear from you.

In addition to the core programs we are known for, look out in 2019 for a new LCC Podcast series and expansion of the peer-to-peer network. We are unwavering in our ongoing commitment to support Canadians with lung cancer everywhere. That will mean that we actively seek out opportunities from coast to coast. We will see increasing engagement with Provincial and Federal politicians, including a recently formed Senate group. Some of these will be led by LCC, others in partnership with other patient groups that have shared concerns. In particular we are working on screening and access to care. We are particularly concerned about the high lung cancer rates among Inuit and First Nations, and we are trying to build partnerships to find solutions that will improve lung cancer outcomes.
Thank you for your continued support of our organization, and we hope we can count on you again in 2019.

Paul Wheatley-Price MD
President of Lung Cancer Canada