Partnership hopes to make progress on pancreatic cancer with research network

first_imgTORONTO – Kevin Rabishaw had the classic signs — persistent back and abdominal pain, sudden onset of diabetes and pronounced weight loss — but as too often happens with pancreatic cancer, his symptoms weren’t diagnosed early enough to make a difference.Despite having surgery to remove a large tumour on his pancreas, followed by rounds of chemotherapy, Rabishaw died last month at age 57, just nine months after his diagnosis.It is an all too familiar story for health professionals and cancer advocacy groups who deal with this malignancy, the fourth deadliest cancer affecting Canadians, which accounts for six per cent of all cancer deaths in the country.Yet despite having such a lethal profile — only seven per cent of patients live five years from diagnosis — pancreatic cancer is among the most poorly funded when it comes to research dollars, with only about two per cent of all monies raised for cancer going to this type of tumour.“It has become almost a forgotten cancer, and yet it’s so devastating to the people who get it,” said Michelle Capobianco, executive director of the Pancreatic Cancer Canada Foundation (PCCF), an organization that raises funds for research, awareness and education.“The reality is that there have been very few advances in the last 40 years,” she said. “So basically what you would be told 40 years ago is what you’re told today.”The advocacy group is hoping to change that with a partnership to boost research into pancreatic cancer. Along with the Cancer Research Society, PCCF is launching the Pancreatic Oncology Network, or PancOne, a two-year joint project to raise $2 million for research committed solely to the fight against this cancer.To be announced Thursday, the partnership follows a bold multimedia awareness-raising campaign called “Assumptions Can Be Deadly.”This year, an estimated 5,500 Canadians will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and about 4,800 will die from the disease, Canadian Cancer Society statistics indicate.The pancreas is a finger-like organ that releases enzymes into the small intestine to aid digestion and insulin into the bloodstream to control how the body uses food for energy.But because it is buried deep within the abdomen, symptoms of pancreatic cancer typically don’t become evident until the disease is quite advanced, leading to its description as a silent killer. More than 60 per cent of tumours are diagnosed at a late stage, usually having spread, or metastasized to other parts of the body, thereby limiting chances for successful treatment.“In many cases, it’s silent until its already metastatic,” said Dr. Steven Gallinger, a surgical oncologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto.“Only about 20 per cent of patients are eligible for surgery because the other 80 per cent have metastatic disease when we meet them for the first time,” he said, adding that this cancer also tends to be highly resistant to chemotherapy.Although cancer of the pancreas can strike adults at any age, about 90 per cent of those who develop the disease are over 55, with an average age of about 70.While the cause isn’t yet known, Gallinger said genetics and lifestyle factors such as excess alcohol consumption and eating a western diet high in red meat and low in fibre seem to be risk factors for the disease.“Then the convincing factor that’s definitely associated is smoking,” he said, noting that tobacco use raises the risk of developing pancreatic cancer by two to three times.Despite what may seem a grim outlook, Gallinger said the PancOne partnership offers hope that increased dedicated funding will lead to research breakthroughs in the next few years.The $2-million target could attract matching or even higher grants from other funding institutions and government, boosting overall research dollars, he said.“For a long time, we were kind of the orphan, unnoticed, unloved research group around the world,” Gallinger said of scientists probing the mysteries of pancreatic cancer, “meaning advocacy was minimal, so governments didn’t respond well to the need for more work.“There’s also been frustrations in attracting young people to try to delve into this challenge … (but) in the last 10 to 20 years, there’s been significant improvement in awareness, which gradually trickles out to funding agencies.”For Kevin Rabishaw, the need for greater awareness of pancreatic cancer and its symptoms — as well as increased research funding — was close to his heart, said Bryna Rabishaw, his wife of 31 years.Before his death, he took part in a video made by PCCF “to help so the next patient has more time with their family,” she recalled her husband saying.Rabishaw, an avid outdoorsman who included making maple syrup among his many hobbies, also left a legacy to his family and friends in the form of a sugar shack on the couple’s property in Sharon, Ont., just north of Toronto, which he designed and had built by a carpenter in the weeks leading up to his death.“The maple syrup season for 2017 became a really, really big deal for us,” Bryna Rabishaw said tearfully, adding that their adult son and daughter helped him tap maple trees near their property and their dad taught them how to boil it off and bottle the resulting syrup.It was a hobby he relished, and his family and friends plan to continue it next year in his memory.While she doesn’t blame doctors for missing the red flags of her husband’s cancer — PCCF says many health professionals can be unaware of the signs — Rabishaw hopes his story will encourage others with suspicious symptoms to get them investigated quickly.“If they could have put the pieces together earlier,” she said, “I truly believe that he would have still been here.”—Online:www.assumptionscanbedeadly.ca– Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.last_img read more

More work needed to ensure timely justice departing Beverley McLachlin says

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada’s retiring top judge says more must be done to ensure the justice system is accessible to everyone in a timely way — and Beverley McLachlin hopes she will continue to play a part in the reform process.McLachlin steps away from the Supreme Court after 28 years — including almost 18 as chief justice — and more than 2,000 cases on everything from assisted dying to interprovincial trade.She reflected Friday on the work of the court in the post-Charter of Rights and Freedoms era and her belief that the justice system belongs to the public.“I hope that I’ve tried to make it more open and reassure Canadians that the courts are their courts and that we the judges who serve on those courts are all dedicated to providing better justice for Canadians,” she said during a news conference.A landmark 2016 ruling from the high court defined time limits for completing criminal trials, but McLachlin says more must be done to address delays and costs that pose barriers.“I believe that access to justice, being able to use the justice system, is something that every Canadian is entitled to.”The federal justice minister, attorneys general from across the country and judges are focusing on the problem and making changes, she said. McLachlin is impressed with smaller efforts, such as more readily available information on the legal process and discounted legal services to help people navigate the system.“There is much being done, and there’s much more we can do. And I’m hoping that when I retire I can continue in some way to push this project of access to justice, and making justice more accessible to all women, men and children in Canada.”At a gala sendoff Thursday night, McLachlin was toasted by former governor general Adrienne Clarkson, former prime minister Brian Mulroney — who appointed her to the high court — and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Notably, but perhaps not surprisingly, absent was Stephen Harper, who publicly tangled with the court during his time as prime minister.In a statement, Trudeau said McLachlin, the eldest of five siblings raised in rural Alberta, remained grounded and down-to-earth despite a meteoric rise through the judiciary.“She understood that the law had to be meaningful and accessible to Canadians and demonstrated this through judicial decisions written in clear, understandable language.”McLachlin demurred Friday when asked about her legacy, but said she tried to uphold the law in a responsible, pragmatic way for the people whose lives it touched.Her impact could be felt for a while yet.Though McLachlin officially retired Friday, she will have a say on judgments in cases she has heard, as long as they are released by June 15. If any come out after that date, the judgment will note that she had no input into the decision.McLachlin said she is proud of the work the court has done on First Nations files and in the development of a legal structure into which Indigenous rights can function, as well as her “small role” in the development of jurisprudence under the charter.She singled out the federal reference to the court on Quebec secession as one of her more difficult cases.“It was very challenging because it was at the edge, at that fine line between constitutional law and political matters. We had to be very careful what we said and what we did.”The justice system has come a long way over the years in recognizing the special needs of people with mental illness who have committed crimes, for instance by diverting them into streams that make medical care available, she said.“There’s an increasing recognition that we have to find other ways to deal with this considerable problem of mental health in the justice system.”While she wants to continue fostering more universal access to justice, McLachlin seems confident that Canada’s highest court is in good hands.“What have I left undone? No doubt a great deal,” she said. “There’s much left to do out there, but it will be for someone else.”— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

NS system for people with disabilities had dark roots expert tells inquiry

first_imgHALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s system to support people with intellectual disabilities has dark roots in a poorhouse system that led to attitudes they should remain segregated and controlled, a human rights inquiry was told Tuesday.The inquiry is looking at whether two Nova Scotians with disabilities have the right to live in supported housing — meaning, in the community, rather than institutions and psychiatric facilities.Michael Bach, a researcher and advocate for inclusion, was called to testify by the Disability Rights Coalition, an advocacy group for people with disabilities that is a complainant in the proceeding.Bach was hired in 2012 by the former NDP government to help transform its system for people with disabilities, and to help close its remaining institutions.After outlining the repeated reports and studies calling for the changes over several decades, Bach told lawyer Claire McNeil about the history of poorhouses, where people lived in crowded settings away from the main community.He said that approach changed for most poor people at the beginning of the 20th century, as they were allowed to move into the community with income supports.But the same shift didn’t occur as quickly for people with disabilities, as large facilities with municipal boards of directors continued operating around the province.“Who gets left is those who had more significant needs and don’t have the income to purchase the supports they needed to live in communities on their own,” Bach said.He said the notion of a person having little control over their own lives lies in this history.An independent report on an incident at the former Braemore facility in Sydney, N.S., was also a big factor in the desire for change, he said.The Canadian Press had reported on a 2010 case in which an adult man with autism was locked alone in a constantly lit room at the adult residential centre for 15 days with occasional breaks. A provincial investigation said videos constantly monitored him, and on several occasions, he urinated in a corner when he was unable to get a staff member’s attention.As a “people-centred approach” became more common around the world, Bach said Nova Scotia started to realize change was necessary.He said the view of provincial officials who hired him was that a “transformation” had to occur.“There wasn’t a notion of ‘Let’s do some tinkering with the system, let’s do some incremental changes,’” he said during testimony before inquiry chairperson J. Walter Thompson.“There was a recognition it needed to be transformed,” he said.However, the inquiry has heard opening arguments from the lawyers representing people with intellectual disabilities that this transformation is incomplete, particularly in the case of their clients.Forty-five-year-old Joseph Delaney and 46-year-old Beth MacLean say they should be permitted to move from the hospital-like settings into small homes where assistance is provided in areas such as meals and personal care.A third complainant, Sheila Livingstone, died as the case wound its way through various delays, but her story will be told by family members and the complainants’ lawyer.There were 504 people awaiting some form of support from the Department of Community Services as of last Thursday, and 1,024 people awaiting a transfer to a different housing option or location.A Justice Department lawyer at the hearing has said the province may agree with the principle of providing supports, but it’s not necessarily a human rights violation for the province to refuse funding or eliminate waiting lists.The province also says it is working to improve its Disability Support Program and to create more small-options homes.The province’s lawyer is expected to cross examine Bach on Wednesday, while the lawyer for the two complainants with intellectual disabilities is expected to call his first witnesses.Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.last_img read more

Canadian facing child exploitation charges arrested near US border

first_imgHOULTON, Maine – U.S. border patrol officers have charged three Canadians with unlawful entry after they were seen walking in northern Maine, including one man facing child exploitation charges in Nova Scotia.According to court documents filed June 1 with the U.S. District Court in Bangor, Maine, the three were apprehended May 31 near Houlton, Maine, which is not far from the border crossing at Woodstock, N.B.The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency alleges that Jesse Christopher Leblanc, Chelsey Ann Fitch of Fredericton and Aaron Byron Cumberland of Nova Scotia crossed the border at a spot that is not designated as a port of entry.In an affidavit submitted to the court, border patrol agent Matthew McLellan said the three were seen carrying backpacks on the Canadian side of the border on a road parallel to the international boundary before they were spotted on a road in Maine that leads away from the border.The agent said a fingerprint check later determined Cumberland is facing charges in Nova Scotia, including luring a child and invitation to sexual touching, though he had been released on conditions.McLellan’s affidavit says those conditions include an order that he remain in Nova Scotia and refrain from possessing any electronic device that can access the internet. The affidavit says Cumberland had a cellphone and a laptop with him when he was arrested.McLellan said all three initially offered false identities, saying they had “no claimed countries of citizenship.”The agent said none of them was carrying proper identification.“They also initially claimed to not believe in or recognize international borders or boundaries but believe that travel between countries should be free and uninhibited.”last_img read more

Aldo footwear chain erroneously caught up in CanadianUS trade dispute

first_imgMONTREAL – Quebec footwear retailer Aldo found itself temporaily at the heart of the current Canadian-U.S. trade dispute after being linked to President Donald Trump.The company was included in a Maclean’s magazine list of retailers that are either owned by Trump and his family or sell Trump goods.The objective of the list first published Sunday is to inform consumers where they can hurt Trump in the pocketbook.Aldo then went online to state it is a private family-run company that has no connection to any Trump businesses.Maclean’s acknowledged the error and withdrew Aldo from the list, which includes Hudson’s Bay and Walmart.Aldo was founded in 1972.last_img

Doug Ford slams federal carbon tax that takes effect in four provinces

first_imgTORONTO — Ontario Premier Doug Ford says there’s no reason to believe Canadians will recoup the cost of the federal carbon tax that takes effect today.Ford, whose government is fighting the tax in court, says he doesn’t trust Ottawa to make good on its promise to provide rebates to businesses and residents of the provinces where the tax is kicking in.The feds imposed the tax in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick after those provinces opted not to impose their own pricing schemes on carbon emissions.Residents of those provinces will be getting rebates on their income tax returns that start at $128 annually and increase for people with spouses or dependents at home.Ottawa has yet to reveal details about a program to rebate some of the increased costs faced by small- and medium-sized businesses.The federal government says the carbon tax is a sensible way to protect the environment — put a price on activities that pollute to discourage emissions, and give back most or all of the money through income taxes.The federal tax is $20 a tonne for this year and is set to increase by $10 annually until it reaches $50 a tonne in April 2022.The starting rate adds 4.4 cents to the price of a litre of gas, about four cents to a cubic metre of natural gas, and also drives up the cost of propane, butane and aviation fuel.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Some facts and figures about the DDay landings in Normandy on June

first_imgOTTAWA — Some facts and figures about the D-Day landings in Normandy on June 6, 1944:TARGET: Allies land on French channel coast along five Normandy beaches stretching about 80 kilometres west from River Orne.BEACHES: From west to east, Utah (U.S.); Omaha (U.S.); Gold (Britain); Juno (Canada); Sword (Britain).FEATURES OF JUNO: Eight-kilometre strip of summer resorts and villages scattered over flat land behind low beaches and a sea wall. Many Canadians in first wave race to cover of sea wall. D Company of Queen’s Own Rifles loses half its strength in initial sprint from water to seawall about 180 metres away.ENEMY AT JUNO: About 400 soldiers of 716th Infantry Division man concrete gun positions sited to fire along beach. Zones of fire calculated to interlock on coastal obstacles intended to rip bottoms out of invading boats. Gun positions protected by mines, trenches, barbed wire.SHIPS: More than 7,000 vessels manned by 285,000 sailors. Royal Canadian Navy contributes 110 ships and 10,000 sailors.SOLDIERS: 130,000 ashore by nightfall, including about 14,000 Canadians.VEHICLES: 6,000 tracked and wheeled vehicles and 600 guns land.PLANES: More than 7,000 bombers and fighters available. Allied planes fly about 14,000 sorties June 6, against about 250 by Luftwaffe.D-DAY CASUALTIES (killed, wounded and missing): Canada: 1,074, including 359 killed; U.S. 6,000; Britain: 3,200. Germany figures unreliable because of confusion in retreat.CAMPAIGN CASUALTIES (killed, wounded and missing): In 2-plus months of Normandy campaign (June 6-Aug. 21) Germans lose 450,000 soldiers, Allies 210,000. Canadian casualties total more than 18,000, including more than 5,000 dead.ALLIED LEADERS: Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (U.S.), Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force. Gen. Sir Bernard Law Montgomery (Britain), Field Commander, D-Day Forces.CANADIAN LEADERS: Gen. Harry Crerar, Commander 1st Canadian Army. Maj.-Gen. Rod Keller, Commander 3rd Canadian Infantry Division.DIVISIONS INVOLVED: Canadian 3rd Infantry Division; British 3rd and 50th Infantry Divisions; U.S. 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions. (All had armoured units attached).The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Federal leaders scatter across country as campaign ramps up in earnest

first_imgOTTAWA — Federal party leaders have scattered across the country today as the election campaign starts to ramp up in earnest.Today was the legal deadline for Justin Trudeau to ask the Governor General to dissolve Parliament and call the election, but the Liberal leader got the jump on that by starting the campaign last Wednesday.The first six days were marked by numerous candidates across the partisan spectrum turfed from their rosters or forced to apologize for past homophobic and racist remarks.The Liberals were also haunted by the re-emergence of the SNC-Lavalin scandal and questions about the RCMP investigation running up against issues of cabinet confidence, while Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer found himself again needing to address his socially conservative views.And the NDP found themselves constantly facing questions about whether they were ready to run at all, considering they had yet to nominate dozens of candidates.Today, all three main parties hope to regain some solid footing with the Liberals in and around Toronto, the Conservatives in B.C. and the NDP in Quebec.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Scheer Trudeau talk platforms firearms in Toronto Singh stays out west

first_imgOTTAWA — The federal Liberal election platform is out, and it’s brimming with talking points not only for Justin Trudeau, but for his political rivals as well.There’s billions in new spending — $57 billion worth, according to Conservative math — to be financed in part by new taxes on the wealthy, large international corporations, foreign housing speculators and tech giants.There’s billions in red ink, too: the platform projects a $27.4-billion deficit next year, falling to $21 billion by year 4 of what would be a second Liberal mandate, should Trudeau’s growth-and-investment approach win out over what he calls the cuts and austerity of Andrew Scheer’s Tories.Scheer will no doubt have plenty to say today about what the Conservatives consider Liberal disregard for the federal balance sheet — an image Trudeau seemed to lean into Sunday as an important point of distinction between the two parties.Trudeau, for his part, will be in Toronto talking to health care professionals about what he has promised a re-elected Liberal government would do about guns — a hot topic in a city that as of last weekend had seen 325 shooting incidents this year alone, 26 of them fatal, according to Toronto police data.Scheer, who is also in the Toronto area, will be facing questions, too. The Liberals are trying to make hay with the fact that the Conservative leader never finished the licensing process to become an insurance broker, a job description he says he had before politics. The party says he was accredited, but left the industry before getting his licence.The Conservative campaign will begin the day with an announcement in the critical suburb of Whitby, Ont., with stops planned in Toronto and nearby Scarborough and Brampton — all part of the tactically important suburban belt ringing Canada’s most populous city. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh continues to focus his efforts on the Vancouver area, and his attacks on the Liberals.Green Leader Elizabeth May is beginning her day in Vancouver, while People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier travels to Windsor, Ont.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 30, 2019.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Grammy Auctions Raise Money For Charity

first_imgGRAMMY Charity Online Auctions — in celebration of the 55th Annual GRAMMY Awards, will offer more than 100 exclusive items including once-in-a-lifetime VIP experiences, memorabilia from world-renowned celebrities and official GRAMMY merchandise signed by participating stars backstage during rehearsals and the day of the telecast.Items featured in the auction include VIP Concert and meet-and-greet experiences with Celine Dion, Lil Wayne, Miguel and Esperanza Spalding; an outfit worn onstage by GRAMMY nominee Carly Rae Jepsen during her Las Vegas Concert; VIP Tickets for the upcoming Coachella and Stagecoach festivals; official GRAMMY merchandise autographed backstage at the 55th GRAMMY Awards rehearsals and telecast by celebrity participants; guitars autographed by the Black Keys, Maroon 5, Jason Aldean; and music memorabilia autographed by Adele, Mariah Carey, Eminem, fun., Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Sting, and Jack White, among other items.Presented in partnership with Kompolt, The lots are available for bid in two cycles now through Feb. 21 at www.ebay.com/grammy. All proceeds will benefit MusiCares and the GRAMMY Foundation.last_img read more