June 21, 2007

Manitoba Introduces Strategic Framework to Fight Cancer

Manitoba will implement a comprehensive strategic framework over the next five years to guide health-care professionals and government in the prevention and treatment of cancer, Health Minister Theresa Oswald announced today.

"We've worked with our partners to develop a road map to guide our investments and planning over the next five years to aggressively address cancer on multiple fronts," said Oswald. "This framework will help us ensure all Manitobans can access quality care and leading-edge treatment options, while enhancing cancer prevention resources and improving early detection of this disease."

Cancer Services in Manitoba: A Strategic Framework encourages partners from government and the health-care sector to work together to develop a comprehensive, systematic, partnership-based and collaborative approach to save lives and improve cancer outcomes.

"The commitment to lessen the burden of cancer in Manitoba is to be applauded," said Dr. Dhali Dhaliwal, president and CEO of CancerCare Manitoba. "This framework provides the basis for urgent action by all partners as the burden of cancer is projected to double by 2020."

The framework identifies three key areas for action to improve cancer services in Manitoba including:

  • improving cancer prevention;
  • detecting cancer earlier; and
  • enhancing treatment options and improving care.

The framework is based on scientific evidence to address the entire continuum of cancer care from prevention through treatment and primary and palliative care.

"This cancer framework makes it clear where we will be in five years. Manitobans will be better informed about their choices to prevent cancer and people living with cancer will have better treatments and care," said Mark A. McDonald, executive director, Canadian Cancer Society, Manitoba Division. "People living with cancer have been heard and respected. This is a good day for Manitobans."

The province will focus on a number of priority projects within the
strategy including:

  • implementing new strategies to help schools target reductions in youth smoking and other risky life-styles;
  • implementing and expanding the colorectal cancer screening program throughout the province;
  • developing a Western Manitoba Regional Cancer Program in Brandon that includes radiation therapy;
  • encouraging innovative team approaches to managing complex care needs of patients;

  • enhancing patient care by hiring patient navigators to help patients
    and families deal with challenges in navigating the health care system; and

  • enhancing palliative care services throughout the province.

The minister also announced a new $4.4-million investment to improve access to head and neck cancer care at CancerCare Manitoba at the Health Sciences Centre and St. Boniface General Hospital, building on a key recommendation that the province introduce new programs that focus on specific areas of care.

"Head and neck cancers are some of the most complicated cancer cases to treat and care for, requiring many visits to a wide array of health-care specialists and support services," said Oswald. "This valuable collaboration between CancerCare Manitoba and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) improves access to treatment and care for head and neck cancers while helping reduce wait times for head and neck surgery."

The program includes:

  • purchasing and installing advanced technology for the treatment of
    head and neck cancer patients;

  • improving ward facilities for high-need patients at the Health
    Sciences Centre;

  • purchasing upgraded surgical equipment for complex procedures;
  • maintaining the co-ordinated, centralized wait list for head and neck surgeries;
  • developing a multidisciplinary team approach to head and neck cancer care; and
  • enhancing recruitment for head and neck physician specialists, and
    additional medical and administrative staff.

"We already have top notch physicians and other health-care professionals working in the area of cancer care," said Dr. Brian Postl, WRHA president and CEO. "This framework and investment will help to enhance the quality work they are already doing and strengthen our position as a national leader in the detection and treatment of cancers."

The minister noted that province's goals for the future are to see improved prospects in the prevention and treatment of cancer, and improved quality of life and lowered death rates for Manitobans affected by cancer. It will also work to ensure that partnerships across the system will make a real difference for cancer patients across the province.

"We want to provide the best possible care and leading-edge treatment options possible when someone gets this disease," said Healthy Living Minister Kerri Irvin-Ross. "We also want to prevent cancer where we can by stressing the importance of reducing tobacco consumption and encouraging healthy eating and regular physical activity."

"The CancerCare Manitoba Foundation is dedicated to helping to achieve better outcomes for Manitobans and their families living with cancer," said Andrew Paterson, board chair of the foundation. "Each year, millions of dollars are raised by thousands of Manitobans and because of these efforts, the foundation is able to invest in the programs and services important to Manitobans - support for patients and families, screening programs, clinical trials, state-of-the-art technology and equipment, and the latest research."

Cancer Services in Manitoba: A Strategic Framework

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