Cancer Can’t Wait: Covid-19 Disruption of Cancer Care

“We all agree that cancer can’t wait – it can’t be cancelled or postponed. And yet, COVID-19 has forced significant delays and cancellations of cancer care, triggering another public health crisis in our country. CCSN believes that all provinces and territories – including Ontario – must ensure that the sustained provision of essential cancer care is included in any crisis or pandemic planning.” – Jackie Manthorne, President and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, many healthcare services across Canada were shuttered to contain the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, that included cancer care. Appointments stopped, clinics were closed, and cancer patients were forced to wait out the lockdowns while their care was paused. But Cancer Can’t Wait, and it didn’t.

Throughout the pandemic, cancer patients lost time, setting their treatment back and creating anxiety around their prognosis. When the lockdowns began to lift and COVID-19 vaccinations became commonplace, immunocompromised patients’ anxiety increased because they now worried about getting COVID from the general public as well as cancer care delays.

What is Cancer Can’t Wait?

Cancer Can’t Wait is an initiative by the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network that brings issues concerning cancer care to everyone from the general public to the cancer community to elected officials. Our goal is to improve the care that has been impacted by the pandemic and expand it so that cancer patients don’t have to wait for diagnosis and treatment to catch up.

Throughout the pandemic, we commissioned Leger to conduct four professional surveys on cancer care disruption in Canada. The results of our fifth survey on the impact of long COVID-19 on cancer patients and caregivers will soon be available.

Our Cancer Can’t Wait Surveys

The findings of the first three surveys have been compiled into a report called “Thrown Under a Bus” that you can read here.

We have also a separate report on the results of our fourth survey, “For Cancer Patients and Caregivers, the Pandemic is Not Over” which can be accessed here.

Our report on the fifth survey, “Having Half the Life I Used To Have”, can be accessed here.

To read the media releases and to access the webinars on COVID-19 disruption of cancer care in Canada, please click here.

We have compiled the first four surveys onto one page, where you can access their media releases, survey content, and an explanatory webinar along with accompanying slides.

Our Work

 Stay up to date with the latest news here.

Open Letters to Provinces Regarding Cancer Care During Omicron

Cancer Can’t Wait: An open letter to all Canadian Government and healthcare decision-makers.