Canadian Breast Cancer Network Releases 2008 Breast Cancer Wait Times in Canada Report Card



    Wait times still too long for Canadian women diagnosed with breast cancer

    WINNIPEG, June 5 /CNW/ - New data collected by the Canadian Breast Cancer
Network (CBCN) shows that not all Canadian women are receiving equal access to
breast cancer treatment. The CBCN presented the 2008 Breast Cancer Wait Times
in Canada Report Card findings today at the 5th World Conference on Breast
Cancer in Winnipeg.
    "This Report Card is a call to action for concerned organizations and
individuals to work collaboratively to find solutions to breast cancer
issues," said Diana Ermel, president of the CBCN. "Breast cancer wait times
and accessibility to medications must remain high on the public agenda to
improve access and quality of care."
    While many jurisdictions are working on innovative solutions to shorten
wait times, there continue to be significant gaps in the current standards of
care across the country. Key issues identified by the Report Card include:

    
    -  There are no national benchmarks for wait times associated with
       surgery or chemotherapy
    -  Only half of the jurisdictions reporting achieved or bettered the
       national benchmark of four weeks wait time for radiation therapy
    -  Some jurisdictions have no wait time reporting systems with little or
       no data to share
    -  The approval process for new treatments is lengthy, currently taking
       up to five years from the initial application by the manufacturer
       until listing on a provincial or territorial formulary
    -  Canada lags behind other countries in the adoption of electronic
       health records, a technology which could expedite procedures
    

    The Report Card provides an overview of wait times for diagnosis and
treatment of breast cancer in Canada. It looks at guidelines, benchmarks and
data provided by the provinces and territories, as well as at factors
affecting wait times, best practices and strengths, gaps in information and
weaknesses in performance. The report also reviews drug approval timelines and
access to affordable drugs, and suggests options for an action strategy on
improving timely access to treatment.
    "More than 22,000 women are newly diagnosed with breast cancer in Canada
each year, and scientific evidence demonstrates that early detection and
treatment decreases the rate of recurrence," said Ermel. "This Report Card is
critical because it is only by recognizing the gaps and disparities in wait
times and access to treatment that we can develop innovative and creative
solutions."

    A call to action

    By highlighting the key issues in this Report Card, the CBCN proposes a
call to action for concerned organizations and individuals.

    
    -  Working with provincial and territorial jurisdictions to provide
       accessible and comparable information
    -  Identifying and disseminating best practices
    -  Supporting research and innovation to improve access and quality of
       care
    -  Encouraging health care systems to listen to and learn from the
       experiences of breast cancer survivors
    

    The report's findings reflect information provided by the provinces and
territories. Although more data is constantly being gathered and made
available, the findings illustrate that improvements are needed.
    The 2008 Report Card on Breast Cancer Wait Times in Canada was made
possible by the information provided by provincial and territorial ministers
of health, as well as an educational grant from the GlaxoSmithKline
Foundation.

    About breast cancer

    Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women: one in nine women will
be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime, with the risk rising
significantly after the age of 50. Women account for 99 per cent of breast
cancer cases.
    Breast cancer is not a single condition. Many types of tumors can occur
which may require different treatments. The stage at which breast cancer is
diagnosed influences the type of treatment chosen and the degree of urgency in
starting treatment.

    About CBCN

    The Canadian Breast Cancer Network (CBCN) is a survivor-directed,
national network of organizations and individuals concerned about breast
cancer. The CBCN mandate is not only to inform Canadians on issues related to
breast cancer, but also to advocate for access to diagnosis and treatment.
Through its various initiatives, the CBCN aims to encourage dialogue, and
inspire Canadians to take action on behalf of all those living with, affected
by, or at risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer. For more information on
the CBCN, visit www.cbcn.ca.

    About the World Conference on Breast Cancer

    The World Conference on Breast Cancer (WCBC) is an international 
multi-disciplinary global conference on breast cancer held every three years
in Canada. The conference serves women and men with breast cancer, as well as
the friends, family and community networks that support them. The conference
creates opportunities to examine issues in all their variety and complexity,
giving equal voice to the person affected by breast cancer, the clinician, the
scientist and the advocate. In this way, international knowledge is shared and
enriched from a number of perspectives that broaden expertise, deepen
sensitivity and respect and accelerate progress in confronting breast cancer.
For more information, visit www.wcbcf.ca.




For further information:

For further information: or to set up an interview, please contact:
Dianna Eakins, Manning Selvage & Lee, (905) 333-4208, eakinscomm@cogeco.ca;
Ann Gibbon, Ann Gibbon Communications, British Columbia, (604) 263-0634 or
cell (778) 999-0064,  info@anngibboncommunications.com

Organization Profile

CANADIAN BREAST CANCER NETWORK (CBCN)

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