About Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal genetic disease affecting Canadian children and young adults. It is estimated that 1 in every 25 Canadians is a carrier of the gene responsible for causing CF. At present there is no cure or control for the disease.

Cystic fibrosis primarily attacks the respiratory and digestive systems causing severe breathing problems and difficulty digesting food. In the lungs, where the effects are most devastating, a build-up of thick mucus causes severe respiratory problems. Mucus also builds up in the digestive tract, making it difficult to digest and absorb nutrients from food.

People with cystic fibrosis consume a large number of enzymes, about 20 pills a day, to help absorb nutrients from food and follow a demanding daily routine of physical and inhalation therapy to keep their lungs free from infection.

The Facts about Cystic Fibrosis:

  • There are over 4,100 Canadians living with cystic fibrosis who receive specialized care at one of the 42 clinics across the country generously funded in part by donors;
  • It is estimated that 1 in 25 Canadians is a cystic fibrosis carrier;
  • Nearly 60% of all individuals with cystic fibrosis in Canada are adults;
  • Almost 30% of female adults and 20% of male adults with cystic fibrosis are classified as underweight (BMI < 20 kg/m2).;
  • Of the Canadians with cystic fibrosis who died in 2014, half were under 32 years of age;
  • Newborn screening for cystic fibrosis leads to earlier treatment and therefore gives children with cystic fibrosis a better start in life;
  • The estimated median age of survival for Canadians with cystic fibrosis was 51.8 years of age in 2014;
  • On average, a person with cystic fibrosis spends the equivalent of 4 months of full-time work doing life-sustaining treatments every year;
  • Cumulatively, Canadians with cystic fibrosis spent over 24,500 days in hospital and attended CF clinics more than 15,500 times in 2014.

Since 1960, Cystic Fibrosis Canada has invested more than $235 million in leading research and care, resulting in Canada having one of the world’s highest survival rates for people with cystic fibrosis. We funded the research team that discovered the gene responsible for cystic fibrosis and continue to play a leading role in the worldwide race to develop new treatments and a cure for this disease. We also funded the clinicians that revolutionized diets for people with cystic fibrosis, resulting in longer lives and a better quality of life.

The generosity of many individual donors, corporate partners, governments, organizations and volunteers allows us to continue our work and Cystic Fibrosis Canada doesn’t intend to stop until a cure or effective means to control this fatal disease is found.

To learn more about the fight against cystic fibrosis, and how you can help, visit the Cystic Fibrosis Canada website, call the Regional CF Office at 613-482-7912.