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Wait Time Targets
 

Ontario has established targets for radiation treatment based on the priority or urgency of the cancer. Targets represent the optimal length of time within which patients should be treated. Some cancers are more aggressive and should be treated more quickly, while others are slow growing and do not need as immediate attention. Cancer Care Ontario reports on its website the percentage of patients who receive radiation within Ontario’s recommended wait time targets for all priority categories combined.

Ontario’s targets are more aggressive than the Provincial Territorial (PT) benchmark. When the PT benchmarks were announced in fall 2005, each province was given the flexibility to establish more aggressive provincial targets. For example, the PT radiation therapy benchmark is four weeks from “ready to treat to start of treatment”. Ontario’s target for priority 3 – which includes most radiation patients – is 2 weeks from “ready to treat to treatment.” Ontario’s radiation target is endorsed by Cancer Care Ontario’s Expert Wait Time Committee and consistent with the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncologists’ standard.

Ready to Treat to Treatment Priority Categories

Priority Category Clinical Conditions Ready to Treat to Treatment (Target Wait Time in calendar days)
1 Patients who have an immediately life-threatening condition (e.g., neurological compromise with cord compression, superior vena caval syndrome), which is expected to be treated on an emergent basis. 1
2 Patients who are not considered emergent, but, in the opinion of the treating physician, the treatment should start within one week. This category would include, for example, very aggressive tumours and some palliative cases. 7
3 All patients who, in the opinion of the treating physician, do not meet the criteria of category I or II. 14
Last modified: Thu, Mar 12, 2009
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