Ontario's Cancer Patients Receiving Faster and Better Radiation Treatments

2009 Marks Milestone Improvements in Federal Radiation Targets

TORONTO, Dec. 18 /CNW/ - For the past 12 months, Ontario has surpassed the federal target for radiation therapy wait times, demonstrating that the province has continued to improve access to this important cancer treatment.

"These results are achieved by investments made by the government and through the important work of health care practitioners across the regions," said Terrence Sullivan, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. "Not only are patients receiving treatments faster, but with the introduction of Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) they are now receiving treatments using improved radiation technology."

The federal target, initially announced in December 2005, aims to have 90 per cent of patients be treated within 28 days of being ready to treat. In Ontario, over 95 per cent of new patients are now receiving this treatment within four weeks of being ready to treat compared with 76 per cent in September 2005.

Ontario has made these gains by increasing the availability of cancer treatments and driving process improvements to enhance care across the province. New cancer centres have opened in Peel, Durham and Kitchener and facilities have been expanded in Hamilton and Ottawa. In addition, over this time, the number of radiation treatment machines in the province has gone from 74 to 90 treatment units to help make sure that quality care remains available to care givers throughout Ontario.

Cancer Care Ontario is also working towards implementing IMRT across the province. IMRT allows oncologists to deliver radiation to irregularly shaped treatment fields, sparing healthy tissue and minimizing side effects. To date 12 out of 13 radiation programs in Ontario deliver some level of this treatment.

"Compared with traditional radiotherapy, IMRT offers a more individualized level of care and less side effects for patients," said Dr. Padraig Warde, Provincial Head, Radiation Treatment Program, Cancer Care Ontario. "Moving forward, the plan is to roll out this treatment as routine care at all cancer centres in Ontario."

Cancer Care Ontario is the provincial agency responsible for continually improving cancer services. As the government's cancer advisor, Cancer Care Ontario works to reduce the number of people diagnosed with cancer, and make sure that patients receive better care every step of the way. For more information visit: www.cancercare.on.ca.

SOURCE Cancer Care Ontario

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Lenore Bromley, Sr. Public Affairs Advisor, Cancer Care Ontario, Phone: (416) 971-9800 x3383, Email: lenore.bromley@cancercare.on.ca

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