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Ontario leading the way in cancer care

Ontario’s investments in cancer care are producing results and have established the province as a global leader, according to a new international study.

The study, published in “The Lancet,” looked at survival rates for four cancers—lung, breast, colorectal, and ovarian—in six countries.

For colorectal cancer survival, Ontario ranked first from Canada and third among 12 health jurisdictions across six countries.

For lung and ovarian cancers, Ontario ranked second overall.

These results show that past investments in cancer care in Ontario are making a difference.

Recent investments include:

•re-development and expansion of nine regional cancer centres;

•Canada’s first organized province-wide colorectal cancer screening program;

•free vaccine to protect young females against the human papillomavirus (HPV), the major cause of cervical cancer; and

•expansion of the provincial breast cancer screening program by funding an additional 248,800 screens and adding 52 new breast cancer screening sites in Ontario since 2003/04, for a total of 152.

The six countries in the study are Australia, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

In Canada, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba participated in the study.

“It’s wonderful to see that our investments are making a difference in the fight against cancer,” said Health and Long-Term Care minister Deb Matthews.

“We will continue to build on this success by ensuring that Ontarians with cancer get the highest quality of care,” she added.

Wait times for cancer surgery in Ontario have declined by 22 percent since 2005.

Ontario Public Drug Programs has funded an additional 32 cancer drugs since 2006.

The study is an initiative of the International Cancer Benchmarking Partnership (ICBP), an international partnership of clinicians, academics, and policy-makers working together to understand how and why cancer survival rates vary between countries.

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