The Cause: The Hospital for Sick Children
Help Us, Help Them

Children should never have to face cancer or its treatment. But they do. Sick Kids sees 300 new cases of cancer each year, more than any other hospital in Canada and is Ontario’s only full-service paediatric cancer center.

Cancer is the most common cause of disease-related death in Canada among children. While medical solutions are winning more and more battles, with cure rates for some childhood cancers soaring to 90 per cent from 25 per cent in the early 1970’s, paediatric cancer is still on the rise.

Childhood cancers are different than adult cancers and, due to lower occurrences, research funding is significantly lower. Research done at Sick Kids can lead to new treatments and potential cures.

In fact, “Sick Kids offers outstanding clinical care along with leading edge research. The children are being treated by the top doctors in their fields. Trust me, if your child is seriously ill, you want them treated at Sick Kids” says Liane’s mother, Janet.

Thankfully, most children get through childhood with nothing more than minor illnesses and a few cuts and bruises. For those whose lives are interrupted by serious injury or illness, there is The Hospital for Sick Children. Since 1875 The Hospital for Sick Children has been meeting the needs of Canadian children. Moreover, it is considered an international paediatric centre in areas such as cardiovascular surgery, neuroscience and oncology. Patient care, research and education – the cornerstones – play equal roles in improving the health of children, today, and long into the future.

The Childhood Cancer Program 

Cancer is the most common cause of disease-related death in Canada among children, second only to injury-related deaths of children over a year old. The cure rates for certain paediatric cancers have soared from 25% in the early 1970’s to over 90% in 2002. Meanwhile other forms of cancer have eluded our ability to find a cure completely. And despite significant research advances pinpointing some of the factors leading to cancer, the rate of occurrences continues to rise. For example, the occurrence rates for acute lymphocytic leukemia and brain cancers have increased by more than 50% over the past 30 years -- while the survival rate remains tragically low. In 2003 alone, more than 12,000 North American children will be diagnosed with cancer, and approximately 3,000 will die.

Being Ontario’s only full-service paediatric cancer centre, Sick Kids is providing a full range of treatments including bone marrow and stem cell transplantation. The hospital cares for more than 65% of all children with cancer in the province, and more than 25% of Canadian children with cancer.

The Hospital for Sick Children has a unique track record in studying and treating childhood cancer. It houses the largest paediatric hospital-based research facility in the world with approximately 200 senior scientists and over 1,000 researchers and technicians. Considered to be among the top five childhood cancer centres in the world, Sick Kids also trains 80% of all paediatric oncologists in Canada. Physicians and scientists at Sick Kids work closely to understand not only how cancer develops, but how to prevent it, cure it, and to minimize and control the long-term effects of radiation and chemotherapy. 

The Hospital for Sick Children is committed to providing children and their families with the best care possible. Therefore, the hospital’s newly branded Centre of Excellence for Cancer and Blood Disorders has set for itself the goal of becoming among the top three paediatric oncology programs in the world.

In efforts to reach this goal, the hospital is embarking on a number of strategies to fund innovative research, develop more effective treatments, and attract the best and brightest clinicians and researchers who will push the envelope of knowledge, and eradicate childhood cancer. Sick Kids is poised to establish the Childhood Cancer Research Centre with an ultimate goal of developing and producing new therapeutic agents for incurable cancers.

Cancer Genetics Program

The Cancer Genetics Program at The Hospital for Sick Children meets the needs of people who have a family history of cancer, and targets novel developments in the biology of cancer for translation into clinical practice. The program integrates an interdisciplinary clinical service that provides genetic counselling, psychological intervention, and provision of information to families, physicians and other health care workers, with the development of research studies to address current issues in the field of Cancer Genetics.

This highly specialized program assesses the cancer risk of patients and families, and develops recommendations for long-term monitoring of high-risk patients and families. Individuals at risk are informed and guided by a team led by a Genetic Counsellor, two Medical Geneticists, and a Paediatric Oncologist.

The program generates and maintains an interactive clinical database that helps to formulate research questions in paediatric cancer genetics. Effective networks are continuously being developed to educate both patients and their health care providers to the value and medical relevance of hereditary cancer syndromes.

The Hospital for Sick Children Foundation, with the assistance of committed individuals like the Forrester family - and you - is helping to make a difference.

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