November 16, 2000
News Release: Federal
Leaders' Cancer Test
Leaders urged to take 'cancer test'
Appeal follows further evidence of unexplained
differences in cancer
outcomes between Canada and U.S.
TORONTO, Nov. 16 /CNW/ - Armed with statistics showing that some Canadian
provinces seem to lag behind American states with regard to the outcomes
for certain types of cancer, the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada
(CACC) today took action to push for specific commitments on cancer
issues from the federal party leaders in the current election campaign.
According to data published by the North American Association of Central
Cancer Registries, which ranks 12 Canadian provinces and territories
and 50 U.S. states according to incidence and mortality for cancer,
Canadians with some types of cancer may not do as well as their counterparts
in some U.S. states -- even when adjustments are made for varying incidence
rates. This data is available at the CACC web site. Significant and
unexplained survival differences remain that may, in part, be related
to differences in screening and treatment. Some interpret these differences
to imply that certain U.S. states and some Canadian provinces provide
better cancer care than others.
All provinces except British Columbia are situated in the bottom half
of the North American mortality rankings, which are adjusted for incidence
'Add to this the fact that 129,000 Canadians were diagnosed with cancer
and more than 63,000 died of the disease last year, and the CACC asks
whether some of these were preventable deaths,' said CACC founder Pat
Kelly. 'In ten years, we will be treating twice as many cancer patients
as we do today. The fight against cancer must be squarely addressed
in this election.' To make that happen, Kelly said, each of the party
leaders is being asked to take the CACC Cancer Test by answering a series
of four questions on key cancer care and treatment issues:
- Better cancer care delivery, including
strategies for eliminating
delays in cancer treatment,
eliminating chronic shortages of cancer
care professionals, developing
and enforcing clear national standards,
boosting participation in
experimental treatment studies and reversing
the tide of Canadians being
sent out of the country for care;
- Eliminating unnecessary delays in drug
approval times, including
living up to Health Canada's
commitment of 180-day priority approval
times for new cancer treatments
and eliminating federal and
provincial delays in timely
access to new drugs and new drug studies;
- Patient and public accountability,
to ensure that cancer patients gain
a meaningful voice in policy
decisions about cancer while making the
system more accountable to
the people it serves, and;
- Research, to increase the federal government's
investment in cancer
research to $3 billion over
We will publicly report the leaders' answers to these questions on November
24, to ensure that Canadians can cast an informed vote on which party
can best confront Canada's Number One health problem,' Kelly said.
A copy of the federal party leaders' Cancer Test follows. For details
on the Cancer Test campaign and the data published by the North American
Association of Central Cancer Registries, click on Cancer Stats on the
Never Mind Taxes...
Who Will Cut Cancer?
An invitation from the Cancer Advocacy Coalition
of Canada to all Federal
'Leaders, can you pass
the cancer test?'
Last year, 129,000 Canadians were diagnosed with cancer. More than 63,000
died of the disease. Today, one in three Canadians will be diagnosed.
In ten years, we will have twice as many cancer patients as we have
today. It's time to push this terrible reality to the top of the politicians'
agenda. That's why the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada is urging
federal party leaders in this election to take our test. We will publicly
report the leaders' answers on November 24, to ensure citizens can cast
an informed vote on who can best confront Canada's Number One health
If elected, how would your government eliminate delays in cancer
treatment, eliminate chronic shortages of cancer care professionals,
develop and enforce clear national standards for care, enhance participation
in experimental treatment studies and stop sending Canadians out of
The Issue: Getting Cancer Care. Patchwork provincial efforts
to deal with waiting times for radiation therapy and surgery and the
scarcity of cancer specialists have failed Canadians. In some parts
of Canada, less than one half of patients receive treatment within the
recommended guidelines, and in the last 18 months, more than 2,700 patients
were sent out of the country for care. Worse still, fewer than 10 per
cent of adults with cancer participate in clinical studies that can
significantly improve their chances of surviving. Ottawa must assume
a strong central role to ensure all Canadians have timely, consistent
access to diagnosis, care and treatment, including experimental treatment
How would your government ensure that the 180-day priority approval
time is met, and work to eliminate existing delays in timely access
to new drugs and new drug studies at the national and provincial levels?
The Issue: Drug Approval Times. New advances in chemotherapy
reduce suffering and death from cancer. Canada has a Priority Drug Approval
Process of 180 days to ensure new cancer treatments are not delayed.
Yet Health Canada's overall average approval time is more than 500 days
-- three times longer than in Europe or the U.S. Result: Affluent Canadians
are leaving the country because they can't afford to wait for cancer
If elected, how would your government ensure cancer survivors gain
direct role in policy decisions, while making cancer care accountable
to the people it serves?
The Issue: Patient Power. Cancer care and treatment must be centred
on individual patient needs. People with cancer have the greatest stake
in the fight against cancer - but the smallest voice. Citizens must
have a stronger role in public policy decision-making about the disease.
If elected, would your government commit to increase federal government
investment in research funding to $3 billion over the next four years?
The Issue: Research. Canada spends $5 (CDN) per citizen on cancer
research, compared with $8 (U.S.) in the United States. Canada must
increase this investment to $3 billion over four years - or Canada will
drop even further behind in the world-wide fight against this disease.
The Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada is
a survivor-founded patient
advocacy organization concerned about the state of Canada's cancer care
system. It is a national, registered not-for profit organization of
and group members, and is funded by memberships, donations, and by
unrestricted educational grants from Canadian pharmaceutical companies.
For further information: contact
one of the following CACC spokespersons:
Pat Kelly, breast cancer survivor,
CACC co-founder (Toronto) (905) 637-2840; Beth Kapusta,
Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor, CACC executive director
(Toronto) (416) 538-4874;
Dr. Juanne Clark, Professor, Wilfred Laurier University
(Kitchener) (519) 884-1970 x3516;
Dr. Jaro Kotalik,Northwestern Regional Cancer Centre
(Thunder Bay) (807) 343-1610;
Doug Scott, melanoma and prostate cancer survivor,
Canadian Prostate Cancer Network (Toronto) (416) 769-4555;
Dr. Jack Chritchley, BC Cancer Agency (Vancouver) (604) 877-6183;
Arthur Frank, Author, Professor, University of Calgary (403) 220-6501;
Barry Stein, colorectal cancer survivor,
Montreal Colon Cancer Networking and Support Group (Montreal)
Carol Loughrey, breast cancer survivor,
Breast Cancer Network (Fredericton) (506) 452-2157;
Dr. Jon Church, Breast Cancer Information Co-ordinator, Terry Fox Labs
(St. John's) (709) 737-7907/