Thunder Bay Cancer Fighting Boosted

MRI machine at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
MRI machine at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

MRI machine at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre
MRI machine at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

THUNDER BAY – HEALTH –  The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (CQCO) together with Cancer Care Ontario, jointly released the 2013 Cancer System Quality Index (CSQI). CSQI is a web-based scorecard that tracks Ontario’s progress towards better outcomes in cancer care. The scorecard highlights where cancer service providers can advance the quality and performance of care.

“Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) continues to demonstrate its commitment to quality cancer care at Regional Cancer Care Northwest. We can take great pride in the services we offer,” explains Dr. Mark Henderson, Executive Vice President, Patient Services for TBRHSC and Regional Vice President, Cancer Care Ontario. “But there are areas where we can improve and we are committed to  taking action to achieve better results. As well, we are appealing to the public to be more active in cancer prevention. Healthy lifestyle choices are the first, and a critical, line of defence in the fight against cancer.”

Regional Cancer Care Northwest delivers leading-edge cancer care – including state-of-the-art screening programs, the latest treatment options, drug developments, and advanced radiation treatments. Donations to the Exceptional Cancer Campaign of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation support advancements in cancer care for the people of Northwestern Ontario.

Thunder Bay is rapidly becoming a leading edge centre for research into fighting cancer.

The CSQI report indicates several successes for TBRHSC’s Regional Cancer Care Northwest, including:

·  The five-year relative survival rates for Breast, Prostate and Colorectal cancer have increased over previously reported data (ranked 2 of 15 for breast cancer survival).
·  Regional Cancer Care Northwest performed well overall in wait-times for Cancer Surgery and showed improvement in all areas over last year (ranked 1 of 15 for percentage of stage III colon cancer patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy within 60 days of surgery).
·  Wait-times from Diagnosis to systemic therapy treatment were on par with the rest of Ontario.

However, Regional Cancer Care Northwest lags behind the rest of the province in preventing certain common cancers:

·  The percentage of Northwestern Ontario residents 50-74 who completed at least one Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT) – colorectal cancer screening tool – in a two-year period is worse than the Ontario Average (ranked 14 of 15).
·   Cervical cancer screening rates are also low (Northwestern Ontario rates 14 of 15 for the percentage of eligible women who had a subsequent PAP test within 36 months of a normal PAP test result).

“We have introduced new initiatives to improve access to screening, which can identify cancer in its earliest stages. For example, in addition to mammography for breast screening, the new Screen for Life mobile coach offers FOBT kits for colorectal cancer screening and pap tests for cervical cancer screening, in communities throughout Northwestern Ontario for women aged 50 or over,” said Dr. Henderson. “I encourage everyone who is eligible to be screened to make a personal commitment to take advantage of screening opportunities.”

In addition to being screened, people in Northwestern Ontario can adopt healthier lifestyles, including eating 7-10 daily servings of vegetables and fruit, remaining smoke-free and being physically active.
Our region has some of the highest rates in Ontario of smoking, inactivity and obesity.

“30% of cancers are potentially preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle,” said Dr. Henderson.