Tuesday, January 26, 1999

Little funding spent solely researching testicular cancer

Brad Evenson
National Post

Despite the steady increase in testicular cancer, it is not a top priority for research funding.

The Canadian Cancer Society, the largest source of research money, will spend $866,000 on studies that look directly at testicular cancer. That is dwarfed by the $6.8-million the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative, a coalition of several groups including the federal government, is spending to find a cure for breast cancer.

However, most research is not aimed at a specific type of cancer, but at tumours in general. "We spend a lot on basis research that applies to all types," said Canadian Cancer Society spokeswoman Kerstin Ring.

For example, recent findings in Calgary about the tumour-killing effects of the reovirus apply to many different types of cancer, including brain and prostate varieties.

"[Testicular cancer] is a rare cancer, so any prospective study to tease out the cause is going to involve . . . a huge number of young people," said Dr. Michael Jewett, a University of Toronto medical school professor.

"Given that the treatment results are excellent at the present time, it is not perceived to be a high-priority public health problem."