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Glen Abernethy – National Cancer Survivors Day

Glen Abernethy - Official PortraitMr. Speaker, June 1st is National Cancer Survivors Day. This day is an annual celebration of life and loved ones. Each year, it reminds us of the importance of speaking openly about cancer, and supporting one another in the face of such a serious disease.

On average, 111 new cases of cancer are diagnosed in the NWT every year. There is life after diagnosis. The NWT residents I know who have cancer have shown courage and strength in their individual cancer journeys.

Too often, we think that the diagnosis of cancer is a reason for despair, but more people are surviving and going on to live full lives during and after treatment.  These people are survivors.

I encourage everyone to look at every cancer patient as a survivor, not a victim. NWT residents who have experienced cancer may choose to self-identify in different ways, but there is no reason to view someone living with cancer as a victim.

In March, the Department launched a project funded by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer to improve the cancer journeys of NWT residents. The Continuity of Care Project focuses on supporting cancer patients and survivors along the full continuum of care, particularly in the post-treatment phase. This project will help us to enhance aftercare and services by reinforcing community-level capacity, and improving coordination and communication.

We must continue to raise awareness of cancer so that people get screened earlier. I encourage everyone to join the fight against cancer. Residents can talk to the NWT Canadian Cancer Society to find out what awareness-raising events are taking place in their communities, like the Relay for Life. In past years as many as 30 NWT residents who openly identify themselves as cancer survivors have participated. This Government is in full support of this event and all others which raise awareness and funding for cancer prevention, and I encourage others across the NWT to do the same.

Mr. Speaker, we understand our communities’ concerns about cancer. This demands that we talk frankly, work collaboratively, and continue to support one another. On National Cancer Survivors Day, please join me in taking a moment to celebrate the resilience and strength of all NWT residents, who have bravely faced this disease.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.