Dear Party/ Candidates,
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 question. I completely agree that these people cannot be put in such situations of fear and uncertainty. Your inquiry has prompted me to do some digging and take a look into the current situation here in New Brunswick. I am hoping that I may gain a better understanding of what it is exactly that cancer patients are facing at this time. I believe that, in the current phase of COVID response, services are running at full capacity. Do I have that correct? Looking back at early COVID response efforts, I believe that most experts would agree that we could have, with precautions, offered most or all services. That said, I don’t believe that canceling these services should be an option. Of course, I would have to educate myself much more on the topic but from what I currently know, that is my opinion. In the case of a second or third wave, barring any unforeseen obstacle, I cannot see why, with precautions, we could not carry on with the provision of these healthcare services. I am always willing to learn more and if you wish to send me additional information, I would most certainly consider it. Thank you.”
— Troy Berteit, People’s Alliance Candidate Riverview