Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. Due to missed diagnoses during the pandemic, we are now facing an echo pandemic in cancer. Before the pandemic, it was already estimated that 2 in 5 Canadians (40%) would get cancer in their lifetime and 1 in 4 (25%) would die from their disease. With COVID-19, things have just become worse. Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec reported a 20-23% drop in cancer diagnoses from June – September 2020. It is predicted that cancer care disruptions during the pandemic could lead to 21,247 more cancer deaths in Canada over the next decade. The represents 355,173 years of lost life expected due to pandemic-related diagnostic and treatment delays.
All.Can Canada has launched a new report titled ‘Optimizing Diagnosis in Canadian Cancer Care’, which reveals findings from a comprehensive research project including a literature review, interviews with patients and caregivers, and a survey of healthcare providers across Canada.
“If you don’t get a swift diagnosis and enter into cancer care in a timely fashion, treatment can’t start. We need to listen to what cancer patients say would improve their experience of diagnosis,” says Kathy Barnard, who is a stage IV melanoma survivor, Founder of Save Your Skin Foundation, and a member of All.Can Canada’s steering committee. “People are cycling around trying to get their symptoms investigated for months, sometimes years. This was already happening before COVID-19 and now things are worse. Ignoring the findings of this report would be a missed opportunity to do the right thing by people who desperately need cancer care and make changes that would make a real difference.”
All.Can Canada’s report reveals the labyrinth most people experience when trying to diagnose a suspicion of cancer. From the moment a person tries to interact with a healthcare provider over a suspicion of cancer to the point they receive their diagnosis, seven outcomes were identified as critical to a quality diagnosis experience:
1) Swiftness of the diagnosis process;
2) Validation of concerns by primary care providers;
3) Excellent patient-provider communication;
4) Effective provider-provider communication;
5) Better information;
6) Integrated psychosocial support; and
7) Coordinated and managed care.
All.Can Canada is a patient-led, multi-stakeholder initiative committed to ensuring swift, accurate, and appropriately delivered diagnosis of cancer in Canada.
Find out more about patient-reported inefficiencies and opportunities for improvement in All.Can Canada’s new report.