Northeastern Ontario leads the rest of the province for participation in breast cancer screenings, according to the latest Cancer System Quality Index Report, released by the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario.
The annual report tracks the quality of cancer care services in Ontario and is available at www.csqi.on.ca.
The Northeast Cancer Centre at Health Sciences North also ranked first in the province for symptom assessment screening for breast and cervical cancer patients, the use of intensity modulated, or high dose, radiation therapy for patients with head and neck cancer, and wait times for adjuvant chemotherapy for patients with Stage 3 colon cancer.
Adjuvant therapy refers to therapy used in addition to primary therapy, in this case chemotherapy in addition to surgery for colon cancer.
“We’re very pleased with the overall results from this year’s report,” said Mark Hartman,
Cancer Care Ontario’s regional vice-president for the Northeast and HSN’s vice-president of Cancer Services and Medical Imaging, in a release. “I want to congratulate all the staff, physicians and volunteers at our partner hospitals, HSN and the Northeast Cancer Centre for their excellent work and commitment to their patients.”
But northeastern Ontario's rates of smoking, lung cancer and cervical cancer continue to be the highest in the province, while screening rates for cervical and colorectal cancer are the lowest in Ontario.
The percentage of cancer patients receiving surgery within provincial target times is also the lowest in the province.
“The true value of this report is that it shows us where we need to improve, because in the end, this report is all about making cancer care outcomes and experiences better for our patients,” said Hartman. “Given the high rates of cancer in northeastern Ontario, we have to keep emphasizing the importance of avoiding behaviours that increase the risk of cancer, as well as promoting early detection through screening.
“We’ve also made changes to the way cancer surgeries are prioritized and booked, and as a result, since the start of this year, over 90 per cent of cancer surgeries at HSN are being performed within wait time targets. This annual report helped us identify surgical wait times as a priority for improvement.”