For some time, we have debated a change in the name of the Princess Margaret Hospital. The word “hospital” can be misleading. The Princess Margaret is not your traditional hospital. There is no emergency ward at The Princess Margaret, and while we certainly treat patients, we are exclusively devoted to cancer. Besides being a world-leading cancer “hospital,” with clinics and the like, The Princess Margaret is one of the top 5 cancer research institutes in the world.
The fact is that Princess Margaret Hospital is the only comprehensive clinical, teaching and research centre in Canada devoted exclusively to cancer. And the designation of “cancer centre” is internationally recognized as a place that offers surgery, radiation treatment and chemotherapy within an intense research and teaching environment. A name change to “Princess Margaret Cancer Centre” better reflects the international stature of our cancer program, and our global scope in treating cancer and researching ways in which we can conquer the disease.
We were very pleased to receive Royal Assent from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to change the name of Princess Margaret Hospital to Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. And, in tandem, The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation is now officially The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.
There is a rich history of discovery and innovation at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, including the discovery of the stem cell, cloning the T-cell receptor, identification of breast density as a major risk factor for breast cancer and the creation of the Gattuso Rapid Diagnostic Centre, Canada’s first of its kind, providing those suspected of having breast cancer with a one-day diagnosis and treatment plan.
At last week’s annual general meeting, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation released its annual report. It notes that 418,000 donations were accepted and 637,000 lottery tickets sold, contributing to the $84 million raised for Personalized Cancer Medicine, an approach which seeks to match treatment to the exact type and stage of tumour for each patient. Personalized Cancer Medicine at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre includes efforts to detect cancer earlier, diagnose cancer with more precision, target treatment for each patient and support patients and their families through the cancer journey.
The need to raise philanthropic funding for the extraordinary work being done at The Princess Margaret has never been more urgent. In March 2012, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation launched its five-year Billion Dollar Challenge to support Personalized Cancer Medicine ($500 million through philanthropy and another $500 million in research grants): IBelieveIt.ca.
The name may have changed but the vision remains the same: to Conquer Cancer In Our Lifetime. We plan to change what people believe about cancer. The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has ambitious plans to set the new gold standard in healthcare through Personalized Cancer Medicine for all patients in Ontario, across Canada and around the world, and we are hopeful that our community of supporters will help us achieve this vision.