Nova Scotia is leading the way as one of the fastest growing cancer research communities in Canada. The fifth annual Cancer Research Symposium, being held today, Nov. 10, at the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax, will highlight the broad spectrum of cancer research in the province, at the trainee and senior researcher levels. “Cancer research has really put Nova Scotia on the map,” said Dr. Gerry Johnston, associate dean, research, Dalhousie University and past president, National Cancer Institute of Canada. “Our partnership approach with Cancer Care Nova Scotia, Dalhousie University, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, Canadian Cancer Society – Nova Scotia Division, Capital District Health Authority and the IWK Health Centre, has proven to be very successful. “Our team has grown remarkably strong in terms of recruitment, endowed chairs, the number of National Cancer Institute of Canada grants and growth in capacity, particularly in cancer cell biology and health services research.” Among the day’s highlights is the keynote address by Dr. Louise Parker, professor of Pediatric Epidemiology, Newcastle University, United Kingdom and recently recruited professor of pediatrics, community health and epidemiology, Dalhousie University. Dr. Parker will speak about why children get cancer. “Cancer is the leading cause of illness-related death in children and young adults in Canada, but, even so, childhood cancer is a rare disease,” said Dr. Parker. “In recent decades, research into the treatment of childhood cancer has been incredibly successful. In the 1960s, the majority of children with cancer died. Today, eight out of 10 children with cancer will be cured.” Although curing children of their cancer is reason to celebrate, Dr. Parker said prevention is the ultimate goal. “Knowing the cause of the disease is one of the first steps in preventing it,” she said. “But we know more about what doesn’t cause childhood cancer than what does.” Dr. Parker believes more work is needed on the epidemiological front to determine why children get cancer, so that the necessary actions can be taken to prevent it. “This symposium provides important networking and learning opportunities for the next generation of cancer researchers,” said Theresa Marie Underhill, chief operating officer, Cancer Care Nova Scotia. “It promotes collaboration, which is essential in moving cancer research forward. It creates excitement around our gains in cancer research and, with this new knowledge, we are achieving our shared goal of providing Nova Scotians with high quality cancer prevention, treatment and care, one step at a time.” Cancer Care Nova Scotia is a program of the Department of Health, created to reduce the burden of cancer on individuals, families and the health-care system through prevention, screening, education and research.