A survey from the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) found that disruptions due to the pandemic have created another public health crisis.
According to the findings, more than half of Canadian cancer patients, caregivers, and those awaiting confirmation of a cancer diagnosis—54 per cent—reported having had appointments, tests and treatment postponed and cancelled, causing heightened fears and anxiety
Based on the results, safe and timely access to essential cancer care, including diagnostics, testing and treatment, must remain a top priority across Canada, even during a public health crisis.
“Cancer can’t wait. It can’t be cancelled or postponed,” Jackie Manthorne, president and CEO of the Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, said in a news release.
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“We now know that the huge physical, psychological and financial impact of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, while also facing cancer, has put these Canadians in double jeopardy,” she continued.
Those who have been most impacted by the disruption in cancer care are those awaiting confirmation of a diagnosis—74 per cent, and those who have been recently diagnosed with the disease—73 per cent.
Additionally, while 83 per cent of respondents said they were able to schedule a virtual consult with their doctor, 71 per cent said they remain concerned about accessing in-person care, including being cared for in a hospital/emergency room and receiving various tests and treatment.
Further, 74 per cent of respondents said delays in appointments and treatment have had a significant, negative impact on their mental health.
“During these unprecedented times, we urge federal, provincial and territorial governments to ensure safe and timely access to essential cancer care and diagnosis—now and in the future—because cancer can’t wait,” Manthorne added.