CARTaGENE participant since 2011
What do you think are the most important issues facing the health of Canadians?
I’m concerned by the increasing cost to maintain or improve the actual level of service. My concerns are amplified by a few issues: As viewed from the Québec perspective, an increasing part of the provincial health budget is going towards paying the doctors (specialists in particular, although not increasing in numbers), while the remaining and diminishing budget sustains medical and support staff, facilities and equipment.
Most of the money appears to be going towards fixing problems while only a fraction is spent on preventing health issues. I am also concerned that new discoveries in genetics are not yet leading to more solutions.
In summary, we are getting older, costing more to fix, paying more to the fewer doctors while not moving fast enough with advances in genetics and prevention.
Why did you decide to get involved with CART-a-GENE?
When I received the offer I immediately thought it would be an excellent way to help advance science. I also thought it would be a good way to find out what genetic criteria or factors are being measured. Finally, I was curious about how a serious and large scientific research is conducted.
Do you have any personal experience with cancer and/or other chronic diseases?
I had no idea at the time of getting involved in the project, but a few years later I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I have been fighting the battle for seven years now. When I shared the news with my mother, she told me that two of her brothers were also affected by the same cancer. I recently read the book, The Emperor of All Maladies, by Siddhartha Mukherjee and learned about the genetic aspect of my situation. I became very proud of my small contribution to CART-a-GENE, feeling that I was more effective in my battle with prostate cancer.
If there was one thing you could change about health care in your community, what would it be?
I wish I could help people understand that smoking, poor eating habits and not exercising is taxing our health system and preventing our aging community from getting the health services that they need.
What would you say to another Canadian who’s thinking about getting involved in CART-a-GENE/CPTP?
Please go ahead, do your bit for the good of the country and the next generation