When cancer is found early, it is often easier to treat – something Gary and Barb McMillan know all about.
At the age of 70, Gary was diagnosed with kidney cancer. He had been getting regular checkups and, when his doctor noticed that his blood pressure was high, he ordered a battery of tests which found the cancer. Because it was found early, it had not yet spread to Gary’s other kidney. Surgery to remove the kidney soon gave him a cancer-free bill of health.
But cancer struck the Nepean, Ontario couple again. Two years ago, at her regular check-up, Barb’s doctor also noted that she had high blood pressure. At first, her doctor opted to simply monitor her condition, but as the year went on, a series of tests, including a colonoscopy, found that Barb had colorectal cancer.
Colorectal cancer responds best to treatment when it is found and treated as early as possible. If found early, the disease is treatable, curable and even preventable. Soon after the diagnosis, Barb had surgery to remove several tumours.
“She’s fine,” says Gary, now 76. “We’re both doing fine now.”
But they are both well aware of the fact that their fights wouldn’t have been as easy if it hadn’t been for the research we’ve funded over the years. Because of research, today, 62 per cent of people will survive cancer compared to 56 per cent a decade ago, and only 25 per cent back when we began funding research in the 1940s. It’s for that reason that Gary and Barb fight back by buying Canadian Cancer Society Lottery tickets. Last spring, Gary was a winner in the Canadian Cancer Society Daffodil Daily Lottery.
“It wasn’t that long ago that the treatments being done today weren’t happening. It’s because of research. We have to keep supporting research, we can’t give up.”