Posted at 5:00am
The Department of Health and Social Services is reviewing its cancer treatment strategy and considering extending surgery access for less urgent cases, including certain prostate and thyroid cancers.
Rather than aiming for a 28-day window of access to oncology surgery for all cancer patients, this target will now be adapted to each type of cancer, the D said Monday.r Jean Latreille, director of the Quebec Cancer Program.
“We have to go for a quick diagnosis. Within 28 days of the first symptoms. […] But depending on the cancer you have, you need to be more flexible, agile, and malleable. Not all cancers require surgery within 28 days,” explains Dr.r Latreille as part of a Coalition Prioritize Cancer event in Montreal.
According to him, we must now strive for “the right person, at the right time, with the right treatment”.
“Ontario has had a system like this for years,” he says. For example, the new strategy could see some people with less urgent cancers undergo surgery for longer than 28 days to prioritize patients who have been waiting months for a hip replacement, the D explained.r latreille. An important revision, while waiting lists for surgeries have increased enormously due to the burden reduction linked to the pandemic.
Director General of the Coalition Prioritize Cancer in Quebec, Eva Villalba, understands the ministry’s decision. “Cancer is not a single disease. It’s not ‘one size fits all’,” she says.
mme However, Villalba would like Quebec to go further in its strategy, notably by establishing “parameters of good practice and deadlines for each type of cancer”.
the dr Latreille also presented some updated data on cancer in Quebec. He indicated that between April 2020 and April 2021, the number of cancer cases detected in Quebec fell by 15%. “This is not good news,” said M.me Villalba.
Present via video conference, the Health Minister, Christian Dubé, did not hide that he would have liked a better performance. However, he indicated that despite the significant tax cuts that hit the health network over the past year, cancer surgeries were spared earlier. “As for the diagnosis, that is something different for me,” said the minister, who wants to increase the pace on this side.
For complete and current data
Several stakeholders on Monday stressed the importance of accessing current data on cancers, including death rates, in order to adopt a prevention and intervention strategy adapted to the realities in Quebec.
“Cancer is the leading cause of death in Quebec. […] Let’s have a comprehensive and inclusive tumor registry for all types of cancer,” said Dr.r Jean-Claude Bahary, radiation oncologist at the University of Montreal Hospital Center (CHUM).
“In 2022, the population will be asking for data. To know where we are going,” said M.me Villalba. Quebec has been lagging behind in establishing a complete and up-to-date cancer registry for years. There has been a lot of catching up in recent years. Some data from 2017 is currently available in a dashboard.
Those from 2018-2019 will be published by the end of the year, according to the Dr latreille. And next year, data for 2020-2021 may also be available. MSSS spokesperson Marie-Claude Lacasse adds that “there are plans to develop the dashboard”. […] add new information on incidence (standardized rates, projections, search by stage) and indicators on mortality, survival and disease prevalence”.
the dr Latreille assured that the ministry wanted to play “transparency”. “We’ve got some. But sometimes it’s kind of hidden in the ministry’s computers,” he joked. Mr. Dubé said data access is a priority. “You may have a plan, but if you don’t measure it, if you don’t take care of its implementation, it’s just a theoretical plan,” he said.