Transforming Cancer Journeys Via Strategic Marketing Initiatives

By Patricia Joyce Thangaraj

Even though pancreatic cancer is the 12th most common cause of a diagnosis of cancer, it has moved into the second most common reason for someone to die from cancer.

This is according to the Co-Director at the Wallace McCain Centre for Pancreatic Cancer, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Dr. Jennifer Knox who said that this is in part due to the fact that this cancer is “doing much worst compared to other cancers.”

Speaking during a Princess Margaret Cancer Centre webinar entitled, “Breaking Ground: Changing the Trajectory of Pancreatic Cancer,” she said that if you looked at how things have changed over the last few decades, it becomes apparent that progress has been made in other types of cancer such as females with breast cancer with levels of 75 percent, 84 percent and 91 percent chances of being alive in 1975-1977, 1987-1989 and 2006-2012 respectively. The same goes for prostate cancer with survival rates of 68 percent, 83 percent and 99 percent in the aforementioned years respectively.”

However, when you look at pancreatic cancer, the survival rates are much lower at three percent, four percent and nine percent respectively, although to date, it probably stands at 11 percent and these figures are a cause for concern.

One of the reasons why “pancreatic (cancer) does so much worst than those other cancers is because it is particularly late to diagnose because of where it sits on the body and then it has this incredibly aggressive biology where it spreads quickly.”

Furthermore, “treatments that we have been using in the past have been relatively ineffective and that includes surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation.”

She said that when it comes to pancreatic cancer, each patient must be evaluated on a case by case basis because each individual is unique and therefore, treatment would likewise have to be optimized on a case by case basis because “one size does not fit all.”

Dr. Knox said that when it come to pancreatic cancer, approximately 10 percent fall into the resectable stages of the disease, about 30 to 40 percent fall into the borderline resectable and/or locally advanced unresectable and about 50 to 60 percent fall into the metastatic stages of the disease.

The Annie Parker Foundation knows that early detection, clinical trials, other cutting-edge research, screening methods for early detection of pancreatic cancer like how there are monograms for breast cancer, online and in-person educational sessions on areas such as the seven signs to look out for, when to see your doctor and knowing your genetic factors such as BRCA are important in making headway in early detection, treatment and care of pancreatic cancer patients, survivors and patients in Canada, which in turn improves survival rates in this country.

Ensuring that we can save lives for all cancers related to BRCA gene mutations is of paramount importance to the Annie Parker Foundation. This is why we will continue with our agenda of building strategic partnerships and expanding our health information (HI) portfolio via various health promotion initiatives and patient education digital content with the goal of encouraging positive behavioural modification and more effective chronic disease management.

However, we cannot do it alone. You can support us by:

  • Storytelling – Sharing your cancer journey
  • Building awareness on BRCA cancers
  • Advocating for the BRCA community
  • Becoming a national ambassador
  • Donations – Monthly, annual or one-time
  • Hosting a fundraising event for us
  • Volunteering with us
  • Making a tribute in remembrance of someone you loved and lost
  • Legacy Giving
  • Sponsoring one or more of our events
  • Asking your guests to give you money in lieu of gifts for your birthdays, wedding, anniversaries, retirement party and other celebrations and supporting us with these funds.
  • Corporate Giving
  • Gifts of Securities
  • And much more!

Together let us reduce the number of needless deaths from pancreatic and other cancers associated with BRCA gene mutations in Canada.

Thank you for your time. We value your support!


Patricia Joyce Thangaraj

Director of Corporate Communications, Public Relations and Marketing

Annie Parker Foundation


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