Please respond to these important questions.
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 patients, caregivers and survivors in Canada.
A recent CCSN-commissioned Leger survey of 1,243 Canadians revealed that the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a crisis in essential cancer care across the country. Cancer patients, their caregivers and those awaiting confirmation of a cancer diagnosis faced and still face postponed and cancelled appointments, tests and treatment, causing heightened fear and anxiety, even as pandemic restrictions of are lifted.
Here are a few responses we received in our Leger survey from cancer patients living in New Brunswick:
“I had a throat scan cancelled, now I don’t know if I’m still in remission.”
“Crainte que le cancer soit revenu et de ne pouvoir avoir de suivi dans un délai raisonnable.”
The government of New Brunswick has a critical role to play in making sure that essential cancer care is not disrupted by COVID-19.
Cancer can’t be cancelled or postponed. The delay and cancellation of cancer care due to COVID-19 has triggered another public health crisis. Cancer care and diagnosis must continue during any public health crisis affecting Canadians to save lives.
If elected, how will your government provide the explicit inclusion of essential cancer care in a second or third wave of COVID-19 and in all crisis and pandemic planning in the future?
Your response will be circulated to cancer patients, caregivers and survivors in New Brunswick and included on our website at www.survivornet.ca. Links to your responses will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter.
Response from the candidate:
“Thank you for your message. I absolutely think that cancer care and diagnosis need to continue through potential future waves of a pandemic. In 2014, right after my first provincial election campaign, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Rapid diagnosis and surgery extended his life for another two and a half years. I’d hate to think that the postponement of some of these procedures could be costing people their lives. I helped him navigate the healthcare system before he passed away and saw many of the challenges he faced, which is one of the main reasons that I ran for office in 2018, when I was first elected as MLA. I can only imagine how difficult it is for patients and their families to deal with the extra stress and disruptions to care caused by the pandemic. I have helped constituents (and even people on the Nova Scotia side of the border who access care in NB) to receive care that was cancelled during the pandemic and agree that this needs to be a top priority. We must ensure that cancer care does not stop due to a second wave of COVID-19. I would work with stakeholders to advocate for it continuing through the second wave to ensure the healthcare system is responding to the needs of the patients. I appreciate you sharing the information from your survey with me, to help me better understand and be a better advocate.”
—Megan Mitton, Green Party Candidate Memramcook-Tantramar