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Ontario has among the highest cancer screening participation, but more could be done
Posted on 2016/07/12

July 12, 2016 (TORONTO) — Ontario has among the highest percentage of people who report being up-to-date on colorectal and breast cancer screening among the Canadian provinces and territories, while cervical cancer screening rates fall in the mid-range, according to a new report released today by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (The Partnership).

The 2016 Cancer System Performance Report found Ontario is a leader in screening participation, has some of the country's lowest lung cancer rates and has among the shortest wait times for results following an abnormal screen for breast cancer.

Ontario also has one of the highest rates of breast conserving surgery and one of the highest percentages of mastectomies done as day surgery, which can avoid overnight hospital stays and reduce the use of anesthesia.

The report — the seventh in a series — found change involving multiple sectors in the healthcare system is still slow and requires more collaborative efforts across clinical settings. Since the Partnership began reporting on pan-Canadian cancer system data in 2009, there have been system-wide improvements, most notably more consistent pathology reporting, resulting in more accurate staging and better treatment plans for colon cancer patients.

Positive trends:

  • Mortality rates have been decreasing in Ontario and Canada as a whole since the early 1990s for most of the cancers profiled in this report, including breast, lung (in men), colorectal, prostate and pancreatic cancers.
  • Clinical trial participation overall increased in six of eight reporting provinces (including Ontario) from 2013 to 2014, although for some cancers, participation has decreased (e.g., breast, colorectal and lung).

Areas for continued improvement:

  • Though smoking prevalence continued to decline, prevalence in all provinces remains higher than the national target of 12 per cent. Ontario has the third lowest smoking prevalence rate at 17.4 per cent.
  • Colorectal cancer screening rates in particular are low across the country. Compared to other provinces, Ontario's cervical cancer screening rates fall in the mid-range.
  • One in five cancer patients in Canada reported daily or occasional smoking after their diagnosis.


"Performance measurement enables us to identify trends and drive system-level improvements," said Michael Sherar, President and CEO, CCO. "Cancer Care Ontario welcomes these findings and will continue to work towards improving all areas of the cancer system, including those identified in the 2016 Cancer System Performance Report. These data show there is more work to be done to ensure an efficient, safe, high-quality and equitable cancer system for all Ontarians."

"Across Canada, there is a need to collect more cancer-related data, better leverage and link existing data holdings and strengthen analysis. This will help support and guide improvements to patient care and the sustainability of the cancer system," said Dr. Heather Bryant, Vice President of Cancer Control at the Partnership.

About Cancer Care Ontario:

Cancer Care Ontario plays an important role in equipping health professionals, organizations and policy-makers with the most up-to-date cancer knowledge and tools to prevent cancer and deliver high-quality patient care. It does this by collecting and analyzing data about cancer services and combining it with evidence and research that is shared with the healthcare community in the form of guidelines and standards. It also monitors and measures the performance of the cancer system, and oversees a funding and governance model that ties funding to performance, making healthcare providers more accountable and ensuring value for investments in the system.

Cancer Care Ontario actively engages people with cancer and their families in the design, delivery and evaluation of Ontario's cancer system, and works to improve the performance of Ontario's cancer system by driving quality, accountability, innovation and value.

About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer works with Canada's cancer community to reduce the burden of cancer on Canadians. Grounded in and informed by the experiences of those affected by cancer, the organization works with partners to support multi-jurisdictional uptake of evidence that will help to optimize cancer control planning and drive improvements in quality of practice across Canada. Through sustained effort and a focus on the cancer continuum, the organization supports the work of the collective cancer community in achieving long-term population outcomes: reduced incidence of cancer, less likelihood of Canadians dying from cancer, and an enhanced quality of life of those affected by cancer.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Cancer Care Ontario
Phone: 1.855.460.2646

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Last modified: Tue, Jul 12, 2016
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