CCSN: Question to Parties and Candidates

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) is a national network of patients, families, survivors, friends, and community partners. Our goal is to educate the public and policymakers about gaps in cancer care and encourage policy development to alleviate the physical, psychological, and financial impacts of cancer.

A recent CCSN-commissioned Léger survey of 1,638 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 treatments, causing heightened fear and anxiety, even as pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Cancer patient, and Nova Scotia resident, Anamarija Wagner shared her story with CTV News Atlantic after she was told a scheduled medical appointment needed to be rebooked.

“So, when you go to your family physician, who’s also already overworked, and you tell them what the problem is, usually, they’ll say well, let’s wait and see,” said Wagner. “And, I’m sorry – a lot of us don’t have the wait-and-see time. A lot of us aren’t on very good timelines.”

The government of Nova Scotia has a critical role to play in making sure that essential cancer care is not disrupted by COVID-19, and a duty to provide the highest standard of care to those who continue to deal with COVID-19 and its symptoms.

Motivated by the nearly 7,000 Nova Scotians that are diagnosed with cancer each and every year, we are urging the government of Nova Scotia to get our healthcare system moving again. Safe and timely access to cancer care, including diagnostics, testing and treatment, must remain a top priority even as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

If elected, how will your government manage the backlog of screenings and surgeries, and ensure safe and timely access to cancer care so that patients across Nova Scotia can feel confident that their healthcare system will be there for them when they need it most.

Your response will be circulated to cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors in Nova Scotia and included on our website www.survivornet.ca. Links to your responses will also be posted on Facebook and Twitter.