Numbers help paint vital picture

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While most of us would like a quick, uncomplicated answer, studies on a serious health topic are by nature long-term. To see research looking into cancer in this region is a welcome development, given the concern about high rates.

In fact, the Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow’s Health –known by the acronym PATH – is hoping to include a number of Pictou County residents in what is described as the largest-ever cancer study undertaken in Atlantic Canada.

It’s often been noted that this region of the country has a higher rate of cancer, and beyond that, areas of northern Nova Scotia including Pictou County experience among the highest in the region.

Anyone who reads a doctor’s column regularly, or other articles on health, or just engages in discussions on the topic will know about risks – related to diet, lifestyle choices and the environment. Locally, we have heard recently about suspicions that the presence of certain heavier industries plays a role, but of course that’s a matter of speculation – making this proposed study that much more what the doctor ordered.

The aim of PATH, a population-based study, is to involve 30,000 people from across Atlantic Canada – with 1,000 from Pictou County participating – and look at factors such as personal health history, environment and lifestyle.

People interested in enrolling, or wanting to learn more, can visit or call 1-877-285-7284.

As David Thompson, director of operations, explains the pattern of such an illness can’t be narrowed to any one factor; it is, rather, a matter of fitting together all the pieces for a better understanding of the overall picture.

Cancer carries the perception among much of the population of being the scariest of diseases. It comes in many forms, affecting many different parts of the body. The phrase “cure for cancer” finds its way often into our discussion. Much has been accomplished toward that goal; such studies as this advance us ever further.

Organizations: Atlantic Partnership for Tomorrow

Geographic location: Pictou County, Atlantic Canada, Northern Nova Scotia

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