Our Impact: 2018

2018 was a critical year for Pancreatic Cancer Canada filled with groundbreaking research and new ways to support Canadians affected by this disease. Everything we accomplished, everything we learned, every Canadian we reached, we couldn’t have done without YOU.


A growing organization, for a growing community.

Pancreatic cancer is on track to be the second leading cause of cancer-related death by 2030. In 2018, we took on this projection as a challenge to invest in targeted research, double our investment in support services, and build our capacity as an organization to fight back against this disease on behalf Canadians desperate for a better outcome.

Connections Made

Last year we welcomed over 60,000 visitors to our website for information on pancreatic cancer, learn about the PancOne™ network, ways to get involved, support services and make donations. Our online community grew even further through connections made on social media that enable us to directily communicate with those we represent.


As a founding member of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, we worked with allied organizations from 21 countries to #demandbetter for patients and their families. Pancreatic cancer is a global concern and through WPCC, we are united in our fight to save more lives. We shared the latest news in research advances around the world and set priorities for our collective goals in the year ahead.

Increasing Capacity

To better serve our community and elevate our efforts in the areas of education, advocacy and awareness, and fundraising, we welcomed four new staff members and two new board members in 2018. This strategic investment in the future of Pancreatic Cancer Canada will enable a significantly increased ability to fight this disease on all fronts and provide our community with what they deserve in the face of cancer.

A breakdown of our funding priorities.

We have watched and listened closely to the voices in our community and the experts in pancreatic cancer telling us what they feel is important in the fight against pancreatic cancer.  We carefully assessed and diversified our funding priorities to include more focused research, expanded support services, increased awareness and disease understanding in healthcare professionals, and a wider awareness of this disease so more Canadians know what to look for. As a result, we reached and supported more Canadians than ever before.

  • Research (73%) – Innovative, tangible research remains our highest funding priority so we can learn more about this disease to treat it better and save more lives.
  • Support Services (7%) – In 2018 this included our brand new peer support program with Wellspring, investing in the Ask a Doctor program and resources for our community.
  • Physician Outreach (8%) – Included a partnership with Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Society on the 5 for 5 program and direct outreach to healthcare professionals at the national Family Medicine Forum.
  • Advocacy & Awareness (12%) – We work closely with a public relations team to mount major awareness campaigns, like #AssumptionsCanBeDeadly, that spread the word about this disease to more Canadians.


Our Impact on Research

We’re learning that there are many different genetic subtypes of pancreatic cancer and each one responds differently to treatment. In 2018 we continued our mission to learn more about the variations in this disease so more Canadians would find the right treatment for them – both now and in the future. 

Laying the foundation for the next treatment breakthrough

Through our PancOne™ network, we funded critical clinical trials in genomic testing at three cancer centres across Canada:

1. The COMPASS trial at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto
2. The COMPASS trial at QEII Hospital in Halifax
3. The PanGen trial at BC Cancer in Vancouver

These trials focused on genomic sequencing of pancreatic cancer tumours and brought the possibility of personalized medicine to hundreds of patients in more communities from coast to coast. These learnings enhanced our understanding of this disease and have laid the foundation for two clinical trials focused on new treatment options, which we are excited to fund in 2019.


of our 2018 funding went to innovative pancreatic cancer research.

The Impact of PancOne™

At a recent fundraising gala we showed this video, which highlights some of the important work we funded in 2018 and the hope it inspires for those in our community.

Increasing Support Services for a Unique Community

Pancreatic cancer is one of the most challenging cancer diagnoses a person can receive. From diagnosis onward, things often happen very quickly, leaving stress and grief in its wake. In 2018 we redoubled our investment in support services to be there for those in this fight.

Specialized Peer Support

In 2018 we ran a pilot program with Wellspring to provide specialized peer support and counselling to Canadians experiencing the unique challenges of pancreatic cancer. This program connected Canadians in need with a peer support volunteer in person, over the phone or online. We were so pleased with the feedback we received that this program is set to expand in 2019 bringing a full year of support to those in need from coast to coast.

Peer Support Volunteers

Peer and Counselling Support Participants

Counselling Appointments

Peer Support Appointments

“You need help with everything. Every minute of every day, you’re thinking, ‘how am I going to get through this?’ But you do. Somehow you do. And the only people who really understand are the people who have been through it already.”

– Pancreatic Cancer Patient and Peer Support Participant

Ask A Doctor

A pancreatic cancer diagnosis can be an uncertain time filled with many questions. To supplement doctors visits and aid in general understanding, we partnered with Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society to help fund and grow Ask A Doctor so fewer Canadians are in the dark with their disease.


Of participants came from PCC


Increase in use in 2018

Healthcare Professional Volunteers

Our Impact on Physician Education

In order for Canadians to have their pancreatic cancer detected and diagnosed earlier, we are working to ensure that healthcare professionals in urban areas and rural communities alike have the signs and symptoms of the disease front of mind. 

5 for 5

In 2018 we worked with Craig’s Cause Pancreatic Cancer Society on the 5 for 5 program, which coordinated outreach to physicians, universities and teaching hospitals to provide resources and share information on the disease. This program reached hundreds of healthcare professionals, primarily in Atlantic Canada where there is the highest mortality rate of pancreatic cancer in the country. This also laid the foundation for even more targeted outreach in 2019.


Family Medicine Forum

In November we took advantage of another opportunity to speak to healthcare practitioners directly by having a booth at the Family Medicine Forum in Toronto. This conference was attended by thousands in the healthcare field and enabled us to share warning signs, risk factors and treatment options directly with physicians from across the country.


Advocacy and Awareness

A critical way of increasing early detection and raising more funds to fight this disease is through advocacy and awareness initiatives across the country and around the world.

Assumptions Can Be Deadly

Our attention-grabbing awareness campaign that began in November 2017 continued the conversation into the new year, raising awareness from
coast to coast.

World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition

As a member of this international body of allied organizations, we attended the annual meeting to discuss new research, common challenges and plan World Pancreatic Cancer Day 2018.

World Pancreatic Cancer Day

On November 15, 2018, landmarks, businesses and homes across Canada and around the world lit up purple to raise awareness and stand in solidarity to #demandbetter for pancreatic cancer.

Connect with our Online Community

Learn about our impact as it happens

Join the mailing list for our regular newsletter, The Purple Times, and you’ll get all the news about what Pancreatic Cancer Canada is doing for our community as it happens. 

(You can also access our archive of newsletters here.)