A type of disease that doesn’t typically get a lot of talk time — or fundraisers — got its day yesterday when La Vendemmia once again partnered with the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
While prostate cancer, breast cancer and other women’s cancers are popular causes, the fight against lung cancer tends to be quieter, even though lung cancer is the biggest killer of all the cancers of both men and women in Canada, said Dr. Douglas Gray, who leads lung cancer research at the Ottawa Hospital.
In Ontario, 16 people are diagnosed with cancer every day, said Linda Eagen, CEO of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.
And yet, “there aren’t a lot of fundraisers for lung cancers,” she said.
There is sometimes a stigma attached to the cancer, because people may associate it with smoking, Gray said.
But research has shown that many of the people, “one-sixth, are lifetime non-smokers,” he said.
Research that Gray is leading includes looking at stem cells in the lungs, and how the DNA becomes mutated. He’s also looking at how stem cells repair mutations, and how effectively they repair with age.
While Ottawa is catching up to become one of the leading research centres for lung cancer, the city’s hospitals are already tops in providing care, he said.
“The standard of lung cancer care in Ottawa is equal to anywhere,” he said. When his own mother was diagnosed three years ago, he brought her here, he said.
As for improving research, Gray said the money raised at yesterday’s Grape Stomp — which had a record 35 teams as well as VIP teams — are enabling the foundation to hire a junior researcher for one year.