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Ontario Continues Strong Cancer Performance


2011 CSQI Report Finds Continued Progress but More Remains to be Done

TORONTO, ON May 25, 2011 – Targeted investments have helped Ontario improve colorectal cancer survival rates and the province’s cancer system overall, according to the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario’s 2011 Cancer System Quality Index (CSQI) released today.

“If you live in Ontario and get cancer you have one of the best chances of survival anywhere in the world,” said Dr. Robert Bell, Chair of the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario and President and CEO, University Health Network.  “Ontario has very good performance in survival and mortality compared with other local and international jurisdictions.”

The CSQI is the most comprehensive report of its kind in the world in terms of its jurisdictional comparisons and international benchmarks. This year’s CSQI report found that the increase in the colorectal cancer survival rate is due to improvements in screening and advancements in treatment.

It also identified the need for a fuller integration of cancer services to address challenges related to patient hand-offs across provider and specialist groups, coordination between the cancer system and primary care, and coordination within the cancer system itself.

The 2011 CSQI found sustained progress: 26 of the measured cancer quality indicators either improved (15) in 2010 or remained the same (11). None declined. The index measures a total of 36 indicators – 10 of which are new and are not rated, either because there is no comparative rating from 2009 or because a quality rating is not applicable to the particular indicator.

“Despite our continuing progress, too many still die of cancer,” said Dr. Bell. “We must do more to prevent cancer, to detect it early, to reduce the cancer burden on patients and their families, and to stem the loss of life."

The report also focused on the need to address physical and emotional symptoms during the cancer journey as a way to increase a patient’s ability to fully benefit from the treatments available.

“Continuing efforts to improve the patient’s cancer journey is fundamental to the 2011 CSQI,” said Virginia McLaughlin, a cancer caregiver and member of the board of the Quality Council. “The quality of care includes the quality of caring and highlights the importance of the patient experience in driving improved cancer services and high-quality care.”

The CSQI found that while cancer patients treated in ambulatory care settings are continuing to  report a reasonably high degree of satisfaction with most aspects of care, emotional support continues to receive substantially lower scores, with just over  half (53%) of patients rating it as satisfactory.

“We have made great strides improving cancer prevention, screening, detection and treatment in Ontario,” said Michael Sherar, PhD, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario. “The annual Cancer System Quality Index helps us assess our performance, measure our successes and identify opportunities.  Improving the patient experience is one of these opportunities we’ve identified as a goal in the 2011- 2015 Ontario Cancer Plan and we are acting on it now.  This focus on the patient experience will meet their psychological and emotional needs and result in a better cancer system.” 

Since its inception in 2005, the CSQI has grown in depth and breadth and now covers 36 evidence-based quality measures covering every aspect of cancer control, from cancer prevention to end-of-life care. The Index tracks the province’s progress against cancer and identifies needed quality and performance improvements.

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Ron MacInnes
Phone:  416-971-9800 x 3788