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New Report Shows Cancer Screening Participation in Waterloo Wellington Region Could be Improved

Cancer Care Ontario releases Ontario Cancer Screening Performance Report 2016

KITCHENER, ON (Dec. 7, 2016) – The number of people newly diagnosed with cancer in Ontario has increased over the last two decades and will continue to rise, largely due to an aging population. Certain cancers can be prevented or detected earlier by regular screening, but according to a new report released today by Cancer Care Ontario, many eligible Ontarians aren’t up to date with their screening tests.

The Ontario Cancer Screening Performance Report 2016 evaluates the performance of the province’s three organized cancer screening programs: the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP), the Ontario Cervical Screening Program (OCSP) and ColonCancerCheck (CCC). It highlights cancer screening participation and retention, future program directions and also includes a feature on Ontarians who are overdue for screening.

“Screening detects pre-cancerous changes or cancers at an early stage when they are easier to treat,” says Susan Robertson, interim Regional Vice President of Cancer Services with the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program. “That’s why we encourage all Ontarians to speak with their doctor to find out if they’re eligible or overdue for screening.”

The findings in this report will be used to inform evidence-based and locally relevant strategies to strengthen cancer screening in Ontario.

To support primary care providers, Cancer Care Ontario has developed several innovative tools to assist them with cancer screening in their practice, including the Primary Care Screening Activity Report and the Electronic Medical Record tool. Cancer Care Ontario also sends cancer screening invitation and reminder letters to eligible Ontarians, and as of 2015, family doctors can opt-in to the physician-linked correspondence program to have their name included in colorectal cancer screening invitation, recall, and reminder letters.

Key report findings are:

  • Eligible women can participate in breast cancer screening at both Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) and non OBSP sites.
    • Both in Ontario and in Waterloo Wellington region, breast cancer screening (at both OBSP and non OBSP sites) has remained stable at 65 percent since 2011–2012.
    • As new OBSP screening sites have been added in our region, the proportion of women screened within the OBSP has continued to grow.
  • Provincial participation in cervical cancer screening has declined from 68 percent (2009-2011) to 63 percent (2012–2014). In 2012-2014, Waterloo Wellington region had 64.9 percent of eligible women up-to-date with Pap screening tests.
  • Provincial retention in the OCSP has also declined, from 81 percent among women screened in 2010 to 72 percent among women screened in 2011. These decreases may be related to changes in screening guidelines which extended the recommended screening interval from annually to once every three years. 
  • Provincially, older women (ages 60-66) were less likely (68 percent) to return for a subsequent Pap test than younger women.
  • The proportion of eligible Ontarians who are overdue for colorectal cancer screening has continued to decline (an improvement) from 50 percent in 2008 to 40 percent in 2014. In Waterloo Wellington region, 41 percent of eligible men and women are overdue for this screening for the same time period.
    • Cancer Care Ontario is transitioning to a new screening test for colorectal cancer for average risk individuals (the fecal immunochemical test), which we anticipate will improve screening participation.

A copy of the Ontario Cancer Screening Performance Report 2016 is available at cancercare.on.ca/cancerscreeningreport.

About the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program

The Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program coordinates cancer care for residents of Waterloo Wellington region.  The program includes services provided at Grand River Hospital’s Grand River Regional Cancer Centre, a top rated cancer centre in Ontario, in partnership with several community hospitals in the region.

For more information, please contact:

Lori Temple
Regional Coordinator
Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program
lori.temple@grhosp.on.ca
519-749-4370 ext. 6965