Cancer care agency seeks government support

The director of a regional health facility in the GTA says plans to establish a cancer care database will help the people who need it most.

Cancer Care Ontario has announced a four-year, $800 million plan to make cancer care in the province a more efficient and more interactive system by 2015. Vince Pileggi is the director of Rouge Valley Health System’s regional cancer program. He said patients often feel they are not provided with enough information about coping with cancer.

“It’s about changing the information we give them,” Pileggi said. “We have been giving patients the same information for 10 years and they have been telling us it is not good enough.”

According to the CCO, reducing wait times is a major objective

Dr. Michael Sherar is the vice-president of planning and regional programs for Cancer Care Ontario. He said the CCO intends to help health- care providers in the province prepare for rising cancer rates in the future.

“The number of cases of Cancer is going to continue to rise,” Dr. Sherar said. “This is largely due to the aging (and) growing population.”

The plan’s major objective is to create an Internet database that will keep patients and doctors up to date on status and scheduled treatment. According to Dr. Sherar, the database will speed up the process of discovering and treating cancer in Ontario.

“This priority is about providing patients and their doctors with the information they need about what are the right tests and treatments that they should consider,” Dr. Sherar said.

The CCO wants to use the database to integrate screenings for all cancers into one system.

“We have individual programs at the moment for breast, cervical and colo-rectal cancers and we have (to) expect that these can be better supported … by having a single screening strategy,” Dr. Sherar said.

Cancer Care Ontario took its plan to the Ontario government last month seeking assistance.

David Jensen is the director of communications for the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in Ontario. He said the province is working with CCO “to determine which elements of the plan should be considered priorities and how they might be implemented.”

“This will get patients to show up to appointments and to show up on time.”

Pileggi believes all health-care providers should pay attention to how the plan will change cancer treatment in the province.

“The plan is a good start, but the implementation may different,” Pileggi said. “We’ll have to see how it’s carried out.”