MONTREAL, Feb. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - The Jewish General Hospital ("JGH") has
been ordered to stop treating off-island patients, including those
suffering from cancer, and to send them back to receive care in their
home communities. While this policy applies to all hospitals in
Montreal, the JGH has become a unique cancer center in the province,
providing specialized cancer care not generally accessible in most
Many off-island patients have sought care at the JGH for their cancer
treatments. However, the Montreal Health and Social Services Agency is
concerned that the JGH may exceed its budget as a consequence of the
care provided to these patients, and want to see off-island patients
treated in their local hospitals.
The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada ("CCAC") believes that the
Agency has it wrong and is calling on the Agency to reverse its
decision. "If patient numbers increase, the reasonable approach is for
the funding to follow suit rather than to jeopardize the standard of
care offered to these patients. By sending patients back to centers
which may not be able to offer the same level of care as provided in a
specialized cancer center such as the JGH Segal Cancer Center, we may
very well be affecting not only their quality of life, but their
ability to either prolong their lives or find a cure," said Barry D.
Stein, President of the CCAC.
"We believe patients have a fundamental right to receive their health
care from the physician of their choice and that in matters of cancer
which are often life and death, the government may be compromising
their chances of survival and their quality of life. This is a matter
of government touching on individual freedoms and in this case, for
cancer patients, it their fundamental right to life," said Stein.
While it would be great to receive specialized cancer care anywhere in
the province, Quebec unfortunately does not have a cancer agency with
specialized cancer centers throughout the province as we might find in
other provinces such as British Columbia or Ontario. Despite this, the
JGH has become a center of choice for colorectal cancer patients and
other cancer patients requiring specialized treatment.
"This is actually an opportunity for the Ministry of Health to play a
positive role, by recognizing this center and providing it with the
necessary resources to meet the additional capacity, and indeed
demonstrate that we can have a world-class cancer center available in
Quebec for all Quebecers," said Stein.
While the goal of ensuring that people receive medical services close to
their home is laudable, no efforts are being expended to ensure the
necessary availability of appropriate expertise and equipment in
centres where these patients are to be sent to. "For colorectal cancer
patients, both the patients and their cancer centers, including the
radiation oncology departments, where appropriate, must be consulted
first to ensure that patients can receive the standard of care before
simply sending patients off-island without such a plan," said Dr.
Gerald Batist, Director of the Segal Cancer Center.
"We are about the legal rights of patients to access their care where
they choose and not just by their postal code. We are about patient
options and partnering with regional hospitals so that cancer patients
can safely and effectively blend their care with their local center,
but most of all it is about patients receiving the standard of care
they require and are entitled to," said Batist.
"Furthermore, this decision undermines the complexity of cancer and
radiation treatment and goes against patient choice and their best
interests," said Dr. Te Vuong, Director of the Segal Cancer Center's
Radiation Oncology Division.
"The colorectal radiation therapy program at the JGH is internationally
renowned. The clinical results of the decision, in terms of survival,
are among the best reported in the world, and are the only results
available in Quebec. To deny people from other regions access to these
treatments is intolerable and hard to justify," Dr. Vuong added.
About Colorectal Cancer
Colorectal cancer, cancer of the colon or rectum, is the second-leading
cause of cancer death in Canada. Though highly preventable and curable
when detected early, an estimated 23,300 Canadians (6,300 in Quebec),
will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and approximately 9,200
(2,450 in Quebec) sadly will die from it.
An almost equal number of men and women are affected by colorectal
cancer. One in 13 men and one in 16 women are expected to develop the
disease during their lifetime. One in 28 men and one in 32 women will
die from it.
About the CCAC
The Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada is the country's leading
non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of colorectal
cancer, supporting patients and advocating for national screening and
timely and equal access to effective treatment options to improve
SOURCE: Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada
For further information:
Colorectal Cancer Association of Canada
Tel: (514) 875-7745 ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org