On October 5, 2016, the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network welcomed MPPs, staff, prostate cancer patients, survivors and caregivers and community partners at its fifth annual Legislative Reception at Queen’s Park in Toronto.
This event highlighted the challenges faced by prostate cancer patients and their families and the increasing number of treatment options that provide a good quality of life while living with this disease.
The reception was once again hosted by Ann Hoggarth, MPP for Barrie, who opened the event. She was followed by John Fraser, MPP for Ottawa South, who spoke on behalf of the Honourable Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
Other keynote speakers at the reception were Gila Martow, MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound, who spoke on behalf of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, France Gélinas, MPP for Nickel Belt and New Democratic Party Critic for Health and Long-Term Care.
We were also pleased to welcome several key representatives from groups affiliated with CCSN, including Dr. Stuart Edmonds from Prostate Cancer Canada, Judi Perry Brinkert from Wellspring, Eric Thompson from Crohn’s and Colitis, Sara Strota from the Canadian Cancer Society, and Dr. David Josephy from GIST Life Raft Group, to name a few.
Meetings with MPPs and Minister of Health and Long Term Care
While in Toronto, CCSN also met with:
- MPP Ann Hoggarth, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Community and Social Services, Liberal Party of Ontario.
- MPP John Fraser, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care (Health), Liberal Party of Ontario.
- MPP Michael Harris, Critic for Research, Innovation & Science, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.
- MPP France Gélinas, NDP Health and Long-Term Care Critic.
- MPP Jeff Yurek, Conservative Party of Ontario Health Critic.
- The Honourable Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-term Care.
One of the most exciting developments was the involvement of patients, survivors and caregivers and how well they represented the issues of the prostate cancer community in their regions of Ontario. Heather Redick, caregiver, from Zurich, ON and Preston Harris and Germaine Gould from the Windsor Prostate Cancer Support Group each attended some of the meetings with MPPs with Jackie Manthorne, CCSN President & CEO and Antoinette Brind’Amour, CCSN Program and Project Manager, where they brought their concerns to the forefront.
Following our Legislative Reception and meetings with MPPs, survivors and caregivers shared their impressions of their visit:
Preston Harris, prostate cancer survivor, and Germaine Gould, caregiver: “disappointed in Dr. Hoskins’ response to PSA testing”
“I hope Dr. Hoskins was not referring to that study (Dr. Fleshner’s Globe and Mail article at http://bit.ly/2eerbm3) when he was so adamant about not promoting the PSA test. In terms of that study, it was not a complete test, the latest equipment or techniques were not used, and the study did not reflect different ancestry. Both Germaine and I were very disappointed in his response to PSA testing. Had he supplied some clinical trials for our review, it would have helped. Other that the rectal exam, the PSA test is the only marker we have. I can see there is much work to be done to bring this to conclusion. There is a need for more research on my part along with others in our group. There is a need for our government to give out more information. Some present at the reception were unaware they did not have to pay for PSA testing. Otherwise, it was a pleasure meeting all the MPPs – we found it interesting how one party has a completely different view than the other.”
(From left to right) Germaine Gould, advocate & caregiver, Jackie Manthorne, CEO CCSN, Prostate Cancer survivor and advocate Preston Harris and caregiver Heather Redick; one tireless bunch of advocates!
Heather Reddick, caregiver: “need for reliable testing for prostate cancer”
“I very much appreciated the opportunity to convey my thoughts, backed by personal experience, to Members of the Ontario Legislative. Being able to express concerns face to face, about the need for reliable testing for prostate cancer added impact to the appeals. It opened the door to maintaining an important relationship for future conversations – a framework on which to build.”
Richard and Pam Olley, cancer survivor and caregiver: “heartened that representative were eager for survivor input”
“I was heartened to find representatives from each caucus who take special interest in health care issues and in issues around cancer research, diagnosis, critical and chronic care. I was pleasantly surprised at how approachable and eager they were for survivor input. They obviously understand there's nothing like having experienced the system to know what's working and what needs improvement. It was a special bonus to run into partner groups like Wellspring and Crohn’s and Colitis and be able to network with them too!”
Photo 5 Photo: (From left to right) Germaine Gould, advocate & caregiver, Jackie Manthorne, CEO CCSN, Prostate Cancer survivor and advocate Preston Harris and caregiver Heather Redick; one tireless bunch of advocates!