Niagara residents invited to learn more about cancer

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Posted Apr 15th, 2011

Patient Ann Wilson, a 71-year-old Welland resident, comes to the Outpatient Oncology unit to see Dr. Janice Giesbrecht (right)Topics to include risk factors, screening programs and treatment options.

The lead doctor for cancer services at the Niagara Health System is reaching out to local residents to increase awareness of risk factors, screening programs and treatment options for cancer.

Projections show 2,797 Niagara residents will be newly diagnosed with cancer this year.

“Cancer incidence rates here and indeed around the world are increasing, but on the positive side, mortality rates are dropping in Canada,” says Niagara Health System Director of Medical Oncology
Dr. Janice Giesbrecht. “Organized screening programs such as breast screening and colorectal screening are making a difference, because early identification of cancer means treatment will be more effective. We need our residents to be aware of these programs so cancer can be caught in the early stages.”

The recent provincial budget announcement regarding new dollars to extend the Ontario Breast Screening Program to younger women at high risk is part of a new strategy from Cancer Care Ontario to expand the focus of cancer care.

“I’m delighted to see resources being directed to expanding this screening program for women younger than 50,” says Dr. Giesbrecht. “There is so much in the whole continuum of cancer care that our patients need. The cancer care continuum starts with prevention/screening, includes assessment/diagnosis and treatment, and continues to palliative care and survivorship. The new Ontario Cancer Plan recognizes this and is recommending more resources go to areas beyond assessment and treatment.”

Last year, expansion of the Outpatient Oncology wing at St. Catharines General Site took place to accommodate about 15,000 patient visits for consultation, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care. A key treatment is cancer surgery, and there are about 1,000 such surgeries performed each year at NHS hospital sites.

To help Niagara residents learn more about cancer services, risk factors, trends and the future of cancer care, Dr. Giesbrecht is giving a presentation titled Overview of Cancer, on Tuesday, May 3, 6:30 p.m., at the Niagara Falls Public Library – Victoria Branch, LaMarsh Room.

Members of the media are invited to attend this event, which is sponsored by the Niagara Health System and the Niagara Falls Public Library, with health information handouts/display from the Canadian Cancer Society. Admission is free.

Niagara Health System