Consider needs of one in two Canadians who will get cancer, survivors urge MPs and candidates headed to campaign this fall
Federal government must help provinces prepare for and cope with rising demand for cancer care, including promising new therapies
OTTAWA, ON – June 11, 2019 – Members of Parliament seeking re-election, other federal candidates and federal parties should consider the needs of the one in two Canadians who will be diagnosed with cancer when they are planning their healthcare platforms for this fall’s general election, the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) told politicians today at the group’s annual Breakfast Event on Parliament Hill.
CCSN called for increased federal support to help provincial healthcare systems manage the healthcare needs of cancer patients now and into the future. The number of cancer patients will grow as the population ages. The increase in cancer patients from 2015 to 2030 will be 40 per cent, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Already, 90 per cent of cancer cases are diagnosed in those over the age of 50.
“We are facing a tsunami of needs for cancer care now and into the future. To manage it and to ensure access to the best possible treatments, the provinces will require additional financial help from the federal government,” said Jackie Manthorne, President and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network. “Canadians deserve and expect that when they receive a diagnosis of cancer, they should be able to quickly access high-quality care to give them the best chance of surviving their disease. We want all federal candidates this fall to commit to achieving this goal through an increase to the Canada Health Transfers to the provinces.”
The CCSN Breakfast Event on Parliament Hill was held in conjunction with National Cancer Survivor Month and Cancer Immunotherapy Month during June. Cancer immunotherapies are a promising new pillar of cancer treatment, which harness and augment the body’s own immune system to identify and kill cancer cells.
“We are in a great era of optimism in our ability to treat cancer thanks to new therapies and better screening for earlier detection, but we continue to fail patients on access,” said Dr. Paul Wheatley-Price, a medical oncologist at Ottawa Hospital and President of Lung Cancer Canada who spoke at the CCSN event. “We can and must do much more to help Canadians with cancer but it takes political will and the dedication of new resources to ensure our system is equipped to help cancer patients when they need it with the best possible care and therapies.”
Canada’s largest advocacy organization for older adults, CARP (Canadian Association for Retired Persons), recently surveyed nearly 4,000 of its members to obtain their views on cancer care. More than 90 per cent of respondents said their provincial healthcare system should make new investments to be better prepared to treat cancer and that increasing cancer screening and providing timely treatment should be the healthcare system’s top priority.
“All Canadians, but particularly older Canadians, are affected by cancer, either directly or indirectly through a friend or family member, so it’s not surprising that there is near unanimity that an effective and modern system of accessible cancer care is considered a top priority,” said Rick Baker, President of the Ottawa Chapter of CARP, who also spoke at the CCSN Breakfast Event. “It is vital for our overall economic well-being to help the 50 per cent of Canadians who get cancer to resume being productive members of society in the work force, as volunteers and contributing to their families.”
Ensuring exceptional healthcare is one of the five key areas identified in CARP’s Faces of Canada’s Seniors national policy focused on making Canada the best place to age. Cancer care is a major component of that.
The CCSN Breakfast event on Parliament Hill was hosted by Rob Oliphant, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Liberal Member of Parliament for Don Valley West and himself a cancer survivor. It was well attended and featured remarks by several MPs.
About the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network and the Breakfast Event
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network is a seven-year old fast-growing organization working with cancer patients and survivors to connect with others to plan action, learn about healthcare system complexities, and act to promote best care and healthier survivorship. Visit us at survivornet.ca. The Breakfast Event taking place on June 11 has been made possible through the support of the CCSN and Merck Canada Inc.
The Canadian Association for Retired Persons (CARP) is Canada’s largest advocacy association for older Canadians. Today CARP has more than 320,000 members. As a non-partisan association, CARP is committed to working with all parties in government to advocate for older Canadians. Its mission is to advocate for better healthcare, financial security, and freedom from ageism. CARP members engage in polls and petitions, email their elected representatives, connect with local chapters and share stories and opinions on urgent issues. For more information, visit carp.ca.
3Sixty Public Affairs for the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network