Low marks for Manitoba in 2 cancer wait times categories: report
Ben Miljure, CTV Winnipeg
Published Tuesday, June 3, 2014 4:46PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, June 3, 2014 6:01PM CST
A national report card on wait times for certain medical procedures came out Tuesday and Manitoba received a failing grade in a cancer category and a low mark in another one.
“It’s a real hodgepodge across the country, depending on what particular procedure you’re looking at,” said Dr. Chris Simpson of Canada’s Wait Time Alliance, the organization that released the study.
Manitoba gets a D grade for radiation treatment for breast cancer because only between 50 and 59 per cent of patients receive the treatment within the WTA’s 14-day benchmark.
The province gets an F for radiation treatment for prostate cancer, meaning less than 50 per cent of patients receive that treatment within 14 days.
CancerCare Manitoba calls the report card flawed because the 14-day benchmark doesn’t line up with the provincial standard of four weeks.
"A person waiting for five weeks…are they going to do poorly as compared to four weeks? We don't have strong data. But we want it as short as possible,” said CancerCare Manitoba CEO Dr. Sri Navaratnam.
Mike Talgoy, 61, was diagnosed with prostate cancer four years ago.
He said an additional week or two waiting for a procedure might not affect a patient’s medical outcome but it can cause additional stress for the patient and their family.
“I’ve got cancer. I’m waiting around. I want to get that treatment right away,” said Talgoy, “I want to get into treatment and having to wait for that creates a lot of emotional distress.”
Despite already meeting provincial benchmarks, CancerCare Manitoba said it understands the stress waiting can cause and continues to work at reducing wait times for all cancer patients.
“There (are) lots of efforts going into that and I’m sure that by next year, or the year after, we will even meet this target of two weeks. I’m very optimistic,” said Dr. Navaratnam.
Manitoba is one of only three provinces that reports wait times for radiation therapy.
Ontario and Nova Scotia are the other two.