Over 191,300 Canadians are diagnosed with cancer every year, including 16,500 people in Alberta. Approximately 6,400 Albertans die of cancer each year. Clearly, this life-threatening illness affects entire communities, especially families, friends and co-workers.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) is a national network of patients, families, survivors, friends, families, community partners and sponsors. Its mission is to work together by taking action to promote the very best standard of care, support, follow up and quality of life for patients and survivors. It aims to educate the public and policy makers about cancer survivorship and encourage research on ways to alleviate barriers to optimal cancer care in Canada.
The government of Alberta has an important role to play in making sure that everyone diagnosed with cancer has timely access to cancer care and essential medical services as well as access to emergency rooms and the treatment and medications they need.
We invite you to respond to the following questions related to cancer care and healthcare in Alberta. Your responses will be circulated to cancer patients and survivors in Alberta, posted on our website, www.survivornet.ca and on our social media.
Question 1: Cancer Care and Healthcare Services
In a recent poll conducted by CBC Vote Compass, healthcare is the number two issue on the minds of Alberta voters.
A) How will your government improve the delivery of cancer care and other healthcare services in Alberta?
B) Will your government continue to provide a publicly funded healthcare system or would it institute a private healthcare system?
C) How will your government restructure healthcare delivery in Alberta?
D) How will your government ensure that cancer patients receive the services they need, including home care, financial assistance during recovery and for long-term side effects of cancer and/or treatment?
Question 2: Drug Approval
A key element of providing timely treatment for cancer patients is ensuring that they have access to the medications they need at the time they need them. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in Alberta.
On average between 2004-2010, Alberta approved for public reimbursement 17.7% of the 306 new drugs approved by Health Canada, compared to the cross-country provincial average for the same period of 23.44% (Access Delayed, Access Denied: Waiting for New Medicines in Canada, Mark Rovere and Brett J. Skinner, Studies in Health Policy, April 2012, The Fraser Institute).
If elected, will your government commit to increasing the number of new cancer and other drugs approved for public reimbursement so that all Albertans have timely access to the drugs they need, and if so, how will this be accomplished?