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Prevent Cancer Now

Cancer Prevention Declaration

We, the undersigned, do not accept that Canada’s epidemic rates of cancer are the price we must pay for modern living.

We are no longer prepared to accept that cancer has become a recognized disease of childhood; that our women friends are expected to stoically sport scarves and turbans while awaiting an uncertain fate from breast cancer; that young men are being increasingly diagnosed with testicular cancer; and that workers in many occupations are dying in order to make a living.

Taking all cancers together, over a third of Canadian females and close to half of all Canadian males will know the fear, pain, and anguish of cancer at some point in their lives.

Cancer is imposing a huge and growing burden on Canada’s health care system, draining valuable public resources and reducing our nation’s productivity.

Since the War on Cancer was declared in 1971, we have never engaged the real enemy – carcinogens.

Scientists tell us that we know enough now to prevent well over half of all cancers. Smoking education and cessation programs have reduced the incidence of lung cancer in men, and some other smoking related cancers, and programs to improve lifestyle have resulted in decreases in other forms of cancer. Personal habits such as eating organic, fresh, whole foods, consuming less alcohol, exercising to maintain a healthy body weight, and reducing exposure to sun will lessen our cancer risk, but they are not enough.

During the 25 years from 1976 to 2001, the age-adjusted incidence of cancer among males increased by 27.7%, and the female rate increased by 17.8%. (Canadian Cancer Statistics 2006)

Further decreases in cancer incidence can and must be achieved by eliminating carcinogens from the air we breathe, the water we drink, the products we use, our places of work, and the food we eat. Safe and healthy environments, free of cancer-causing substances, should be the birthright of all Canadians.

We appeal to the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, and the Minister of Environment, the Honourable Jim Prentice, to make primary cancer prevention a national priority.

We applaud your commitment to the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control, and we urge that a significant portion of this funding be dedicated to cancer prevention – stopping cancer before it starts.

    1. We ask you to adopt a new approach to pollution prevention in Canada, particularly as it applies to occupational hazards, emphasizing the elimination of all known and suspected carcinogens from the workplace. We further ask that you fund a just transition commission to ensure that workers are able to shift from toxic jobs and industries to sustainable, equitable employment opportunities in healthy communities.
    2. We ask you to act immediately to reduce or eliminate exposure to known and suspected carcinogens, including man-made radiation, in our homes, schools, workplaces, and ecosystems throughout Canada.
    3. We ask you to strengthen controls over the manufacturers of products whose use results in cancer, such as tobacco, alcohol, common household products and cleaning agents, personal care products, furniture, carpets, and children’s toys.
    4. We ask you to implement product labeling laws requiring the disclosure of all possible, probable and known carcinogens, so that consumers can make informed purchasing choices.
    5. We ask you to implement government procurement contracts requiring vendors to provide carcinogen-free products.
    6. We ask you to act to develop a strategy to ensure that our food supply is managed in ways that help reduce cancer rates.
    7. We ask you to fund a national cancer registry requiring local and provincial cancer registries to gather the occupational and environmental histories of patients.
    8. We urge you to meet, and even exceed, the chemical stewardship goals of the European Union’s REACH (Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals) legislation and the recently agreed UNEP Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM).
    9. We ask you to work with other stakeholders to develop a Toxics Use and Products Reduction Bill that will provide incentives for industry to reduce the amounts of toxic chemicals they use.
    10. We ask you to establish a Green Chemistry Task Force that will build the foundation for new productive capacity in green chemistry – the design, manufacture, and use of chemicals that are safer for biological and ecological systems – and place Canada on the path to a sustainable future.

We ask you to work with your provincial, territorial, and municipal counterparts to effectively accomplish the above-mentioned strategies.

As Canadians, we have a shared responsibility to eliminate the causes of cancer. To focus on treatment and ‘the cure’ for cancer is good and necessary. To focus on eliminating the root causes of cancer is better, so that we can end the scourge of this preventable disease.

We ask you to act to Prevent Cancer Now.

Please take a moment and sign the Cancer Prevention Declaration today

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