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Healthcare improving for cancer patients in Hamilton-Niagara-Haldimand-Brant Regional Cancer Program

Posted May 16th, 2012

The Hamilton-Niagara-Haldimand-Brant (HNHB) Regional Cancer Program continues to perform well in Ontario’s cancer system according to the annual Cancer System Quality Index (CSQI) report released today by the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario.

Cancer System Quality Index shows ongoing progress

Cancer Quality Council of Ontario

“After nearly a decade of public reporting, we continue to look forward to and value the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario’s annual report as it provides us with the measurement necessary to guide our efforts to continuously improve the quality of services we provide for cancer patients in Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant,” said Dr. Bill Evans, Regional Vice-President, Cancer Care Ontario and President of the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre in Hamilton.

This year’s CSQI highlights that the HNHB Regional Cancer Program is a strong performer in many areas including: colorectal cancer screening and breast cancer screening (follow-up of abnormal results), emergency department visits following adjuvant chemotherapy for breast cancer patients and end-of life care.

“Overall, our region’s cancer program is doing well. For the majority of indicators, we’re performing at or above the provincial average and we’re provincial leaders in a number of areas,” said Dr. Evans.

However, the report also indicates that more needs to be done in the HNHB area to improve five-year survival rates for breast and lung cancers, which are amongst the worst in the province. Lifestyle habits and the failure of some populations to access screening opportunities are key factors in improving result in the future.

“We’ve used the annual cancer quality data intensively in planning for cancer services throughout our LHIN and specifically to plan for the Walker Family Cancer Centre,” said NHS Medical Director of Oncology, Dr. Janice Giesbrecht.

“When it opens in the Spring of 2013, it will be part of an integrated cancer program throughout the LHIN, serving patients across Niagara. In particular it will increase access to excellent care for patients in Niagara, as close to home as possible, allowing us to continue improving care, enhancing the patient experience and the CSQI measures that reflect this,” said Dr. Giesbrecht.

“We are extremely proud of our oncology team that has been providing safe care for cancer patients of Niagara for 27 years, and that meets, and in many cases, exceeds provincial standards. We are also leading the way in implementing a region-wide information system which will enhance information sharing among care providers across the points of care delivery for patients receiving cancer treatment,” said Dr. Giesbrecht.

“This LHIN is particularly challenging because of the socio-economic factors unique to this region: a higher proportion of our population has less than high school education, there are significant areas of poverty and we have more people who smoke, drink heavily and are obese,” said Dr. Evans.

“Consequently, these patients often present with late stage disease when treatment is less effective and not curative. I can’t stress enough the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking advantage of screening programs for colon, breast and cervix cancer,” said Dr. Evans.

The cancer program has initiatives underway with partners across the LHIN to help reach these individuals including programs geared to Aboriginal and South East Asian populations, which historically have not taken part in screening programs.

“At Cancer Care Ontario, our vision is to work with our partners to create the best health systems in the world. A great deal has been achieved in improving quality, performance and access to care within the cancer system for the people of Ontario,” said Michael Sherar, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. “This year’s CSQI highlights an opportunity for us to increase our efforts in prevention of cancer, and to drive the delivery of more patient-centered, integrated care while getting greater value from every health dollar we spend to help ensure a sustainable health system for all Ontarians.”

The CSQI is a web-based public reporting tool that serves as a cancer system monitor that enables Cancer Quality Council of Ontario (CQCO) to track the quality and consistency of all key cancer services delivered across Ontario’s cancer system, from prevention through to end-of-life care. It is one of the most comprehensive reports of its kind in the world in terms of its breadth of measurement, jurisdictional comparisons and international benchmarks.

The 2012 CSQI measures a total of 32 indicators. Please visit to view all the indicators and this year’s full report.

Niagara Health System