Photographs courtesy Katey Berzins

Port Stanley’s annual Childcan Polar Bear Dip raised nearly $67,000 today for the families of children with cancer.

About 140 people on 26 teams – representing some 800 donors – braved the chilly waters of Lake Erie at Little Beach.

Proceeds from the Polar Dip support families served by Childcan across western Ontario. The not-for-profit organization provides direct financial assistance, social and emotional support, and research funding at Children’s Hospital in London.

Childcan estimates one-third of a family’s net income is frequently redirected to costs incurred when a child is in cancer treatment. Often, one parent leaves their job.

Over 156,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in 2018, according to the Canadian Cancer Registry. That’s about 546 new cancer diagnoses per 100,000 people. The five most common types of cancer are breast (13.0 per cent), lung and bronchus (12.4 per cent), prostate (12.0 per cent), colorectal (10.5 per cent) and urinary bladder (4.9 per cent).

In 2018, fewer than two per cent of all cancers were diagnosed among people under age 30, whereas over 70 per cent were diagnosed among those aged 60 years and older.

A Statistics Canada report Trends in paediatric cancer survival in Canada, 1992 to 2017, shows that every year about 1,000 children aged 0-to-14 years are diagnosed with cancer, and 110 die from the disease.

In the U.S., about 15,700 children are diagnosed with cancer annually, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Cancer is “the number one cause of death by disease in children” in the U.S. The number of diagnosed cases annually has continued to increase over the past 20 years.