Hayley Wickenheiser and Merck Canada Face-off Against Lung Cancer

‘Be the MVP’ campaign aims to change the odds on lung cancer in Canada


KIRKLAND, QC, November 1, 2023 – This month, Hayley Wickenheiser and Merck Canada are teaming up to challenge all Canadians to help change the odds on lung cancer by getting informed and taking early action against the disease. This campaign, held during Lung Cancer Awareness Month over the last two years, encourages Canadians to ‘Be the MVP’ of their own health by taking meaningful steps to support early detection of lung cancer, improving the chance of survival for the thousands of Canadians impacted by the disease each year.

Canada has one of the highest rates of lung cancer in the world – a staggering 50 per cent (half) of cases are diagnosed at Stage 4, at which point survival is extremely low. To help change these odds, Canadians need to get an early lead on lung cancer. This means increasing their awareness about the disease, including the related risk factors, signs and symptoms, and the importance of early detection.

“We have a tremendous opportunity with the Be the MVP campaign to have an impact on the thousands of Canadians who will be diagnosed with lung cancer each year,” said Hayley Wickenheiser, former hockey player, four-time gold medalist and physician. “As a physician, an athlete and a caregiver, I know winning any match takes a team – and when it comes to lung cancer, it will take all of us to improve the statistics on early detection.”

In her role as a physician, Hayley has witnessed the increasing demands placed on caregivers, often unsung heroes, who require vital support and resources to effectively care for their loved ones. Knowing the best defense is a good offence, Hayley is deeply committed to empowering caregivers to break the silence with at-risk loved ones and encourage them to speak to their doctor.

Throughout Lung Cancer Awareness Month, Hayley, will share her unique perspective in interviews with Canadian media along with a 360-campaign where she will be featured in various ads across Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Other public personalities will be joining the cause to help increase awareness with content to be shared across social media platforms.

Behind the ‘Be the MVP’ campaign is also a network of organizations dedicated to supporting patients and improving the lung health of Canadians: Lung Cancer Canada, the Lung Health Foundation, l’Association pulmonaire du Québec, Coalition Priorité Cancer au Québec and the Canadian Lung Association.

“Early detection of lung cancer may respond more to treatment, and we’re pleased to see Merck Canada and Hayley bringing awareness to this important issue with the Be the MVP campaign,” said Shem Singh, Executive Director, Lung Cancer Canada. “Through education and empowerment, both for patients and caregivers, we can save lives.”

“We are proud to partner with Hayley Wickenheiser and work with lung health advocacy organizations across Canada to empower Canadians to take charge of their own health and get informed about lung cancer,” said Marwan Akar, President and Managing Director, Merck Canada. “Early detection of lung cancer is key to improving your chance of survival and through awareness and meaningful action, we can help make a difference.”


Visit bethemvp.ca to learn more about the symptoms and risk factors of lung cancer and to download a guide for speaking with your doctor.

For more resources and information, visit: Lung Cancer CanadaThe Lung Health Foundationl’Association pulmonaire du QuébecCoalition Priorité Cancer au Québec and The Canadian Lung Association.

About Merck      

At Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, we are unified around our purpose: We use the power of leading-edge science to save and improve lives around the world. For more than 130 years, we have brought hope to humanity through the development of important medicines and vaccines. We aspire to be the premier research-intensive biopharmaceutical company in the world – and today, we are at the forefront of research to deliver innovative health solutions that advance the prevention and treatment of diseases in people and animals. We foster a diverse and inclusive global workforce and operate responsibly every day to enable a safe, sustainable and healthy future for all people and communities.

In Canada, Merck markets a broad range of vaccines, pharmaceutical and animal health products and is one of the top R&D investors in Canada, with investments totaling more than $90 million in 2022 and more than $1.6 billion since 2000. Based in Kirkland, Québec, Merck employs approximately 635 people across the country. For more information about our operations in Canada, visit www.merck.ca and connect with us on LinkedIn @MerckCanada.