Dear Michael Holden, Humber – Bay of Islands,
In Newfoundland and Labrador, there were an estimated 3,900 diagnoses and 1,550 deaths caused by cancer in 2017. This life-threatening illness resonates throughout entire communities; especially families, friends, and co-workers.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) is a national network of patients, families, friends, survivors, community partners, and sponsors. Its mission is to work together by taking action to promote the very best standard of care, support, follow up and quality of life for patients and survivors. It aims to educate the public and policymakers about cancer survivorship and encourage research on ways to alleviate barriers to optimal cancer care in Canada.
The government of Newfoundland and Labrador has an important role to play in making sure that cancer is diagnosed early and that everyone diagnosed has timely and affordable access to quality health and cancer care treatment and medications.
We invite you to respond to the following questions related to cancer care and healthcare in Newfoundland and Labrador. Your responses will be posted on an accessible platform for voting members of your riding. This includes our website, social media accounts and e-letter, which has over 10,000 subscribers, circulation to cancer patients and survivors in Newfoundland and Labrador, and our 50+ partner groups and coalitions.
Question 1: 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 Newfoundland and Labrador 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 plan that goes beyond a formulary that meets the lowest common denominator?
Answer: yes 100%. This needs to happen
- If not, please explain how your party will ensure that the people of Newfoundland and Labrador have timely access to prescription drugs.
Question 2: Information on Breast Density
Over 40% of women over the age of 40 have dense breasts. Having dense breasts can make it more difficult for radiologists viewing mammograms to spot cancer because dense breast tissue shows up as white, which is the same color as a cancerous tumour. Dense breasts often cause breast cancer to go undiagnosed in the early stages, and therefore increases an individual’s risk of developing later stage breast cancer.
- If elected to government, will you commit to ensuring that women are notified about their breast density as part of their mammogram reports?
Answer: yes 100%
- If elected to government, will you support a campaign to raise public awareness and improve education on breast density?
Answer: yes 100%
Question 3: Second Hand Smoking
Exposure to second-hand smoke is a great health risk for patients with compromised immune systems and health conditions. According to Health Canada, the chemicals inhaled by a smoker through their cigarette makes up the same chemicals inhaled by those exposed to second-hand smoke. The province’s Smoke-Free Environment Act 2005 does not establish perimeter bans around all public buildings to protect residents in multi-unit dwellings by declaring a 100% smoke-free policy in all multi-unit dwellings.
- If elected, what steps will your party take to address perimeter bans on second-hand smoke around buildings?
Answer: We will declare a 100% smoke-free policy in all multi-unit dwellings and establish clear perimeter bans around public buildings. This needs to happen.
- If elected, what steps will your party take to address drifting smoke in multi-unit buildings?
Answer: Again, clear boundaries around multi unit buildings
We thank you for your attention to this important matter.