Spring 2024 e-Bulletin

Spring 2024 e-Bulletin

SPOTLIGHT ON CANCER MISINFORMATION AND DISINFORMATION

New publication and grant to combat online cancer misinformation

Misinformation and disinformation about cancer risks, prevention, and treatment is becoming more common, especially in online spaces. Misinformation is false information that is not intended to cause harm (though it may still do so), while disinformation is false information that is intended to cause harm and mislead people. Our team is working to better understand the impact this has on Canadians and develop strategies that will combat online untruths about cancer prevention and treatment.

We recently published a new study on Canadians’ knowledge of cancer risk factors and belief in cancer myths. This research showed that while Canadians were able to identify some well-known cancer risk factors, such as tobacco smoke and sun exposure, they also believed many cancer myths and were unable to recognize other important risk factors. This highlights the need for further investigation to understand and address cancer mis- and disinformation.

Our Principal Investigator Dr. Cheryl Peters was awarded a Challenge Grant from the Canadian Cancer Society to further examine online cancer mis- and disinformation and health literacy in Canada. Alongside co-investigators Professor Timothy Caulfield and Dr. Lin Yang, our research team will investigate how people in Canada access cancer prevention and treatment information and what drives cancer-related mis- and disinformation from online sources. We’ll also be developing a digital strategy with the Canadian Cancer Society to support community partners in combating cancer mis- and disinformation. Read more about this upcoming work on the BC Centre for Disease Control website here, and stay tuned for the results in upcoming newsletters.

Dr. Cheryl Peters and Professor Timothy Caulfield will be also joining Dr. Thomas Piggot, Krishana Sankar, and Marco Zenone in an upcoming webinar, Supporting Patients and Providers in a Sea of Health Misinformation, on June 27, 2024. This free accredited educational session is is open to all health professionals who want to learn how to help patients navigate health misinformation and access recommended resources. Click here to register.

Anne-Marie Nicol - Co-Principal Investigator

TEAM UPDATE

Welcome Emily

The CAREX team is pleased to welcome our new Senior Research Coordinator Emily Heer! Based at the University of British Columbia, Emily has a background in cancer epidemiology, specifically focusing on cancer prevention and reducing disparities in underserved populations. Emily joins the CAREX team to identify the effects of climate change-related extreme weather events on the health of workers in Canada, as well as supporting our work on cancer mis-and disinformation. Her full biography can be found on Our Team page.

COMMUNITY PROFILES

Industrial benzene emissions in the Aamjiwnaang First Nation

As a part of our ongoing commitment to Indigeneity, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (IEDI), we are featuring a new “Community Profiles” section in our newsletter. This space will be devoted to uplifting and raising the profile of communities that may be at greater risk of exposure to carcinogens, or who have recently made progress in finding solutions to combat exposures.

This past April, Aamjiwnaang First Nation declared a state of emergency due to the recorded high levels of benzene in their community. While this is not the first time that the Nation’s air quality has been impacted by nearby industrial pollution, this is the first time Aamjiwnaang have issued an emergency order, with a subsequent Notice of Violation issued by the Nation days later.

Benzene is a known carcinogen associated with leukemia, and can also cause other health concerns including headaches, drowsiness, anaemia, and neuropathies. While there is currently no set hourly limit for benzene, Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) has set the annual average limit at 0.45 ug/m3. On April 25th, one of Aamjiwnaang’s air monitors registered a benzene level of 191 ug/m3.

On the heels of a province-led air exposure review of the Aamjiwnaang and Sarnia area that recommended the MECP “require improved environmental performance and reduced emissions of benzene from local industrial sources”, this latest peak in benzene emissions is evidence that more can done to protect Aamjiwnaang citizens from environmental harm.

In mid-May, the federal government issued an Interim Order to the petrochemical industry in Sarnia, requiring some facilities registering excessive benzene readings to implement vapour-control measures to reduce emissions in the region. The Order was in effect for 14 days, and the Governor in Council approved an extension to the Order for up to two years. The government of Canada is also working to finalize the Reduction in the Release of Volatile Organic Compounds (Storage and Loading of Volatile Petroleum Liquids) Regulations by winter 2024-2025, which would outline the requirements of the petroleum and petrochemical industries to control and lower volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, including benzene.

To read more about CAREX Canada’s previous work with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, click here. To learn more about exposure to benzene, visit our profile.

COMMUNICATIONS UPDATE

CAREX Canada is now on LinkedIn

We’ve joined LinkedIn! Follow us here for news and information on exposures to occupational and environmental carcinogens, updates on our work, upcoming events, and more. Please share with your networks – we look forward to connecting with you there!

Don’t have LinkedIn? You can also keep in touch with us on X @CAREXCanada or by subscribing to our newsletters, including our monthly Carcinogens in the News digest.

PARTNER UPDATES

Newly released Canadian Cancer Statistics and upcoming EPICOH Early Career conference

The Canadian Cancer Society has released their 2024 Canadian Cancer Statistics publication, which provides projected estimates of new cancer cases and deaths by sex and geographic region for over 20 cancer types. An estimated 247,100 new cancer cases and 88,100 deaths are expected in 2024, with lung, breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers projected to be the most common cancers. Cancer continues to be the number one cause of death in Canada, highlighting the importance of prevention.

Our colleagues at the Occupational Cancer Research Centre (OCRC) are helping to organize the upcoming Scientific Committee on Epidemiology in Occupational Health (EPICOH) Early Career Conference in Barcelona, Spain on November 4th and 5th, 2024. The conference serves as a platform for early career researchers and professionals in the field of occupational epidemiology, industrial hygiene, and occupational health to exchange ideas, share insights, and foster collaboration. The abstract deadline is June 15th, 2024. Learn more and register here.

Please note that the CAREX Canada e-Bulletin is now a bi-annual digest. For more regular communications from us, please subscribe to Carcinogens in the News, a monthly digest of media articles, government reports, and academic literature related to the carcinogens we’ve classified as important for surveillance in Canada.

Subscribe to our newsletters

The CAREX Canada team offers two regular newsletters: the biannual e-Bulletin summarizing information on upcoming webinars, new publications, and updates to estimates and tools; and the monthly Carcinogens in the News, a digest of media articles, government reports, and academic literature related to the carcinogens we’ve classified as important for surveillance in Canada. Sign up for one or both of these newsletters below.

CAREX Canada

School of Population and Public Health

University of British Columbia
Vancouver Campus
370A - 2206 East Mall
Vancouver, BC  V6T 1Z3
CANADA

© 2024 CAREX Canada
Simon Fraser University

As a national organization, our work extends across borders into many Indigenous lands throughout Canada. We gratefully acknowledge that our host institution, the University of British Columbia Point Grey campus, is located on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.