According to the Alberta Health Services 2019 Report on Cancer Statistics, 21,510 cases of cancer are expected to be diagnosed in 2021 resulting to a 115% increase from cancer diagnosis rates from 1996.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) works to connect patients, survivors and other stakeholder groups with decision makers and the wider community to engage in discussion and to act on evidence-based best practices to alleviate the medical, emotional, financial and social costs of cancer and encourage research on ways to overcome barriers to optimal cancer care and follow-up for survivors in Canada.
The government of Alberta has a critical role to play in making sure that everyone diagnosed with cancer has timely access to the medications they need; is not subjected to dangerously long wait times for diagnosis and treatment; and receives adequate financial support during diagnosis and treatment.
We invite you to respond to the following questions about cancer care and healthcare in Alberta. Your responses will be circulated to cancer patients and survivors in Alberta and included on our website at www.survivornet.ca. Links to your responses will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Question 1: Strengthening a publicly-funded healthcare system
According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Alberta spends more on healthcare than any of the other provinces and territories. This is projected to increase due to the aging population in the province. Concerns have been voiced on the sustainability of healthcare spending, and parties are responding with best approaches to ensuring Albertans receive affordable, accessible, timely and quality care.
- If elected, what steps will your government take to strengthen the publicly-funded healthcare system in Alberta?
Question 2: National pharmacare
Canada’s universal healthcare system does not include access to prescription medicines. The result is a provincial/territorial patchwork of public and private insurance plans that are costly, ineffective and do not guarantee access to prescribed drugs. The federal government has set up an Advisory Council on the Implementation of Pharmacare to look at how access to prescription drugs can be improved in our healthcare system. Patients throughout Canada are concerned that national pharmacare will lead to a list of covered drugs that only meets the lowest common denominator.
- If elected, will your government support the implementation of a national pharmacare program that guarantees access to prescription medicines and a coverage plan that goes beyond a formulary that meets the lowest common denominator?
- If not, please explain how your party will ensure that Albertans will have timely access to prescription drugs.
- Will your government consult Albertan patients, survivors and caregivers on how to move forward with national pharmacare?
Question 3: Access to cancer rehabilitation services
Surviving cancer can leave a host of problems in its wake. Physical, emotional, and financial hardships often persist for years after diagnosis and treatment.
While advances in cancer detection and treatments have reduced mortality, persistent and late effects of cancer and its treatments need to be identified and managed lifelong, with rehabilitation programs filling a gap in survivorship care and responding to the need of some survivors for more specialized physical and mental recovery care.
- If elected to government, how will you ensure that cancer survivors have timely access to rehabilitation services in Alberta that are timely and free?
- If elected as an MLA, would you be interested in serving on the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network’s All-party Cancer Caucus which meets twice a year and is currently studying gaps in rehabilitation services in Alberta and how to fill them?
We thank you for your attention to this important matter.
Canadian Cancer Survivor Network & Alberta Health Coalition