CancerCare Manitoba
News Item

September 25, 2014

Comprehensive report reveals cancer trends, examines risk factors in Manitoba

Measurement is essential to good cancer system management and by expanding the scope of the 2013-2014 Community Health Assessment CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB) has increased its ability to examine the system.

"We've included indicators that provide insight into how cancer is affecting Manitobans and how the cancer system is supporting them," said lead author Dr. Donna Turner, CCMB's provincial director of Population Oncology, adding by providing data, progress can be clearly demonstrated. "We have seen large improvements in the time to diagnosis following an abnormal breast screen and a reduction in late stage prostate cancer in the North and this ultimately leads to better outcomes for these patients."

Information contained in the report examines cancer risk factors, screening participation rates, access to care and treatment, patient satisfaction and cancer trends over time. The report also shows there are variations in service across the province. Challenges of geography, type of cancer and patient choice contribute to these variations.

The 2013-14 Community Health Assessment provides an overall picture of cancer care and control by reporting on key statistics regarding risk factors and screening participation rates throughout the province as well as access to care and treatment for all Manitobans. Key findings from the 2013-2014 Community Health Assessment include:
  • Thanks to public awareness about breast cancer, including efforts by the well-established BreastCheck program and other partners in breast health, Manitoba women are aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. The proportion of breast cancer found at late stage is low (around 5%) which corresponds with a survival rate approaching 90%.
  • Data show that CancerCare Manitoba is responsive to updated clinical guidelines and new treatments. For example, radiation and surgical treatment has decreased for prostate cancer, likely due to an increased and appropriate use of watch and wait management strategies.
  • The ultimate measure of overall cancer system success is a lower mortality rate. As an early indicator of success, there is a lower proportion of late stage diagnosis in areas where screening programs have become part of the population's regular health care routine.

Since the release of the 2010 Community Health Assessment, the provincial cancer agency has prioritized areas for action and is working with its partners to ease the cancer journey for patients and their families.

"Landmark changes have taken place within the cancer system over the last four years," said Dr. Sri Navaratnam, CancerCare Manitoba's president and CEO, noting the emergence of In Sixty, the $40 million Manitoba Cancer Patient Journey Initiative and the opening of the Western Manitoba Cancer Centre. "Improving efficiencies in the delivery of care from the first suspicion of cancer to diagnosis and streamlining cancer treatment services are some of the efforts currently underway to improve how we support patients and families. By measuring the impact of these initiatives, we can ensure the right care is being delivered at the right time."

In Sixty aims to reduce the time of suspicion of cancer to first treatment to no longer than 60 days by 2016. In Sixty centres around several goals including:
  • guaranteeing an appointment with a specialist within two weeks or less for urgent referrals
  • developing a rapid diagnostic network for cancer patients to better link and speed up diagnostic imaging and pathology
  • introducing cancer patient journey advocates to monitor and help cancer patients and families through their entire journey, identify delays and issues, and work to resolve them to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment

The opening of the WMCC in Brandon was a significant development for improving patient care. In its very first year, the WMCC saved patients and families an estimated 148,000 kms in travel to Winnipeg in 2011 ? a 64% reduction of time spent on the road. Currently, WMCC provides care and treatment for over 575 new patients per year, including over 300 hundred new radiation therapy patients per year.

With data not yet mature enough from new initiatives like In Sixty for inclusion in this report, upcoming Community Health Assessments will capture that new information and provide insight into how these improvements have had an impact on patient care.

To view the report online, visit:

Click here to view a PDF version of this news release.

For more information, contact:
Jackie Shymanski
Director, Communications & Public Affairs, CancerCare Manitoba
(204) 330-6575

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