The Canadian Cancer Society in Newfoundland and Labrador received a $1 million donation on Wednesday — the biggest donation in its history.

The cheque from Husky Energy will help NL fight the highest rates of cancer in the country. 

About one in 59 cases of cancer diagnosed in Canada this year are from this province. NL also has one of the highest drinking and smoking rates in Canada and it is Canada's most overweight province (69 percent of the people are overweight or obese).

The four most common cancers in NL are prostate, colorectal, lung and breast cancer. Skin cancer is also becoming more common.

Philanthropic donations such as this one by Husky Energy are part of the benefits agreements that oil companies negotiate with the province. 

"The statistics are troubling but I feel we can work together to improve these trends," says Malcolm McLean of Husky Energy.

The donation for the Husky Energy Cancer Prevention Program will be spread out over three years.  The money will be used to educate schools, workplaces and families about healthy living and cancer prevention. The cancer society's outreach program will focus on rural areas in the province.

"This money will allow us to focus our work on the Northern Peninsula, the Burin Peninsula, the southern coast of the island as well as coastal communities in Labrador," said Angela Noseworthy, Manager of Community Services with the Canadian Cancer Society.

With files from Chris O'Neill-Yates