Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cancer Society spends more on fundraising than research -- of course they do, Cancer has become big business

An Ontario cancer researcher is concerned that the Canadian Cancer Society has proportionally shifted funding away from research and is spending more of its dollars on fundraising and administration costs.

"Most scientists don’t realize that the budget has been going up and up, and donations have been growing, but the budget for research has been shrinking," said Brian Lichty, a researcher at McMaster University who is looking into treating cancer with viruses that kill tumours. "So they are surprised and disappointed when they find out that this is the case, and the trend."

CBC's Marketplace analyzed the Canadian Cancer Society’s financial reports dating back a dozen years. It discovered that each year, as the society raised more dollars, the proportion of money it spent on research dropped dramatically — from 40.3 per cent in 2000 to under 22 per cent in 2011.

The amount of money spent on research has increased slightly over the years, but as a portion of the Cancer Society’s growing budget, it's almost been cut in half.

Lichty and some of his colleagues set up an information booth at this year's annual Relay for Life fundraiser in Ancaster, Ont., to raise awareness about the drop in funding for research at the Canadian Cancer Society. Over the years, his research team has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the society, but he’s not afraid to criticize it now.

"Cancer researchers are spending a lot of their time, or most of their time, trying to figure out how to get the money to fund their research, rather than actually doing research," Lichty said.

"And it has become a much bigger portion of what our day-to-day activities amount to." (read more)