NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Cancer Advocacy Coalition Reports Mortality Higher In Canada

September 28, 2000

A new report from the Cancer Advocacy Coalition of Canada shows cancer patients across Canada die at far greater rates than in the United States.

Titled Report Card 2000, the coalition document is thick with numbers.

  • For example, in some Atlantic provinces, two cancer patients die of colon cancer for every one patient in Utah, Idaho or Colorado.
  • In Quebec, some cancer patients wait 12 weeks for radiation therapy, when two weeks is the medical standard.
  • And while 6.8 per 100,000 men in the United States wheat belt die of prostate cancer, the number leaps to 9.8 in Saskatchewan.

Only Alberta and British Columbia compare favorably with U.S. mortality statistics.

  • When deaths from all cancer types between 1993 and 1997 are ranked lowest to highest, Nova Scotia finished 57th out of 60 jurisdictions; Quebec finished 54th.
  • Most provinces were in the middle or bottom half of the statistics; however, British Columbia finished 6th, while Alberta finished 11th.

The National Post reports the new organization was formed in January after Canadian breast cancer patients found they were being denied drug therapies available in the United States. Soon they found people with lung, prostate and other cancers had the same complaints.

The organization's membership boasts former deputy ministers of health, cancer agency executives, senior physicians and hundreds of patients and their families.

"Canada is short an estimated 250 professionals capable of providing radiation treatment this year, forcing some patients to wait for treatment and others to travel to U.S. centers for care," the report says.

Many medical experts are lured by greater salaries and working conditions in the United States or are poached by other hospitals within Canada.

Source: Brad Evenson, "Toll from cancer higher than in U.S.: report, Investigation demanded: British Columbia and Alberta defy the trend," National Post, September 25, 2000.


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