Elizabeth Payne, Ottawa Citizen
“Lung cancer, the stigmatized killer”
In the three decades she's worked as a journalist, Elizabeth Payne has covered everything from the prescription drug crisis on northern reserves to the rampant problems – such as mould in the basement and a leaky ceiling – inside the prime minister's official residence. She has been an editor, a columnist and a political reporter, harbouring a particular interest in stories about women's health. Elizabeth has worked at the Ottawa Citizen since 1987, where she currently specializes in health reporting. She became interested in the plight of cancer patients – especially women – after writing a series of columns about the disease several years ago. Her winning entry explores the misconception that everyone diagnosed with lung cancer is a smoker. In fact, lung cancer is the biggest killer of men and women, and health-care providers and families of lung cancer patients find this myth makes it difficult to raise money for the cause or even garner sympathy. Elizabeth’s story drew many comments from readers, who said they wanted to help better educate the public about this pervasive illness.