We all agree that cancer can’t wait – it can’t be cancelled or postponed. And yet, COVID-19 has forced significant delays and cancellations of cancer care, triggering another public health crisis in our country.
A recent survey conducted by CCSN, in partnership with Leger, found that more than half (54%) of Canadian cancer patients, caregivers and those awaiting confirmation of a cancer diagnosis reported having had appointments, tests and treatment postponed and cancelled, causing heightened fears and anxiety. The survey results confirm what we already knew – that safe and timely access to essential cancer care, including diagnostics, testing and treatment, must remain a top priority across Canada during any public health crisis.
CCSN believes that all provinces and territories – including Ontario – must ensure that the sustained provision of essential cancer care is included in any crisis or pandemic planning. That’s why we’re holding virtual meetings with elected officials and other decision makers within the province’s cancer system, to ensure that the Ontario government heeds the experiences of those facing cancer and their caregivers by providing for the explicit inclusion of essential cancer care in all such planning.
To assess the extent to which COVID-19 has disrupted cancer care in Canada, the COVID-19 & Cancer Care Disruption in Canada national web survey was conducted by Leger on behalf of CCSN among 1,243 people (960 cancer patients, 206 caregivers of cancer patients and 77 patients in cancer pre-diagnosis) from May 22 to June 10, 2020, using Leger’s online panel, LEO, and with participation from the broader cancer community.
For comparison, a probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-3.2%, 19 times out of 20 for patients, +/-6.8%, 19 times out of 20 for caregivers, and +/-11.2%, 19 times out of 20 for patients in cancer pre-diagnosis.
On October 26 – 30, 2020, we’re meeting with elected officials including members of All-Party Cancer Caucus, members of Ontario Health (Cancer) and other decision makers within the province’s cancer system. The purpose of these meetings is to ensure that the sustained provision of essential cancer care is included in any crisis or pandemic planning in Ontario.
CCSN calls upon the Ontario government to heed the experiences of those facing cancer and their caregivers by providing for the explicit inclusion of essential cancer care in all crisis and pandemic planning.
Do you live in Ontario? Are you interested in becoming an advocate and joining our meetings? Contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.