Media Release

Quebec elections: the Canadian Cancer Society sets three health priorities

MONTREAL, QC,

With the provincial election campaign approaching, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) wants to make parties and candidates aware of pressing issues where concrete action must be taken against cancer. While the COVID-19 pandemic has been raging for more than two years, it has never been more important to prioritize the needs of people with cancer and their loved ones. Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada and an estimated two in five people in Quebec will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. It is thus essential to make cancer care a priority in the 2022 Quebec general election.

Colorectal cancer: taking action to prevent and cure the disease

Colorectal cancer alone is a major concern. Despite the fact that 6,400 Quebecers were diagnosed with colorectal cancer and 2,600 died from it in 2021, Quebec remains the only province without a screening program for this type of cancer. However, its early detection clearly results in a higher survival rate. Indeed, the five-year survival rate is 90% when the disease is detected at an early stage, compared to only 13% when it is detected at an advanced stage.

An organized screening program for colorectal cancer would allow more than two million Quebecers between the ages of 50 and 74 to receive a letter serving as a prescription to get an iFOBT test. In a Leger survey conducted in September 2021, 92% of participants were in favour of such an initiative.

Holding the tobacco industry accountable

Holding the tobacco industry accountable is another priority for the CCS, since smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Quebec. Each year, some 13,000 Quebecers die from its consequences, with one in two smokers dying because of their tobacco consumption and nearly one in three (30%) deaths caused by cancer is linked to smoking.

Inspired by the polluter pays principle, the CCS proposes imposing an annual $30 million tax on the tobacco industry to reimburse costs generated by the tobacco control strategy and amounts related to reimbursing smoking cessation products. There is already a similar mechanism in the United States whereby the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) imposes $712 million in annual fees on tobacco product manufacturers. A poll conducted in September 2021 showed that 87% of Quebecers would approve of implementing such a measure here.

Palliative care: meeting the growing demand

As Quebec’s population continues to grow and age, the need for palliative care will increase sharply. In addition, the absence of a supervised management system and the lack of clear data and indicators on palliative care in Quebec represent obstacles to developing a coherent global strategy. In September 2021, 85% of Quebecers were in favour of guaranteed access to publicly funded palliative care for all, even if it requires increasing taxes.

The CCS thus proposes creating a unified governance mechanism, an observatory with a standardized data registry and more investments to improve the quality of, and access to, palliative care. Flexible and effective at-home palliative care would ease the burden on ERs and intensive or short-term care units.

Other recommendations

In its document of demands submitted to political parties, the CCS put forward several other measures to better prevent cancer and better support people with cancer and their loved ones. These notably include a catch-up plan to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on oncology care and services, measures to reduce the impact of specific products harmful to health (e.g. tobacco and vaping products) and to make the tax credit for caregivers more accessible.

Additional information

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society works tirelessly to save and improve lives. We fund the brightest minds in cancer research. We provide a compassionate support system for all those affected by cancer, from coast to coast and for all types of cancer. As the voice for people who care about cancer, we work with governments to shape a healthier society. No other organization does all that we do to make lives better today and transform the future of cancer forever.

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit cancer.ca today.

 

For more information, please reach out to:

Magalie Difolco 
Difolco Communications
514 833-2757 
magalie@difolco.ca