Symptoms can include diarrhea, cramping, weight loss, ulcers and intestinal scarring. Those who are afflicted have a lowered life expectancy, an increased risk of colon cancer and will likely require surgery at least once in their lifetime. Though the incidence of IBD in Canada is as common as Type 1 diabetes and epilepsy, and more common than multiple sclerosis and Parkinsons disease, it remains a stigmatized disease that is relatively unknown and misunderstood. IBD costs in Canada are estimated to be $2.8 billion per year, and the quality of life of someone with IBD is low across all groups when compared to the general population. To raise both awareness and funding, the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC) was launched in 1974 by a group of parents whose children were suffering from IBD. Since then, the CCFC has become a world leader in IBD research funding. On Nov. 1, to kick off Crohns and Colitis Awareness Month, CCFC launched a report intended to raise awareness of IBD in Canada, and to lead to new research opportunities and improved quality of life for Canadians living with IBD. At a panel discussion held at Torontos Mount Sinai Hospital on Nov. 1, Mount Sinai president and CEO, Joseph Mapa, said that digestive health is one of the key programs at Mount Sinai, and we employ some of the most talented people in the world. I am proud that the CCFC allows us to be part of the discussion and solution to IBD, so we can continue our important work. Dr. Kevin Glasgow, CEO of the CCFC, discussed some of the findings of the report, as well as the goals of the CCFC. In CCFCs perfect world, people would already be cured, he said. We are getting closer, but were not there yet. Until that day comes, we have an obligation to improve quality of life by reducing the impact of living with IBD. Glasgow talked about some of the challenges that a person suffering from IBD faces, including general lack of awareness of the disease, late diagnoses, poor access to IBD specialists and clinics, and lack of insurance coverage for expensive yet critical medications.
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