July 16, 2014 5:46 pm

Alberta can do better job helping people navigate cancer care, says patient

Alberta can do better job helping people navigate cancer care, says patient

Adam Berry/Getty Images

EDMONTON – An Alberta breast cancer survivor says if women are going to have to wait years for reconstructive surgery, the province needs to do a better job helping them along the way.

Lucia Iorio says after being treated for the cancer three years ago, she has had to go it alone tracking down health officials to find out timelines and options for follow-up care.

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She says it’s hard enough dealing with the physical and emotional trauma of cancer, never mind having to run what she calls — quote — “the hamster wheel of the health-care system.”

“When I look in the mirror, I don’t see myself. I want to feel whole again.

“This long wait to see a doctor is prolonging my suffering and holding me back from healing,” said Iorio.

Iorio made the statements at a news conference this morning with the opposition New Democrats.

NDP health critic Dave Eggen says it takes up to two years to see a plastic surgeon in Alberta and another year after that for surgery.

He says most other jurisdictions don’t break down the wait times, but says the wait is shorter in B.C. and longer in Saskatchewan.

“This PC government promises a health care system that is accessible to all Albertans, but when breast cancer survivors are waiting years for just to meet face to face with a plastic surgeon, I think it’s pretty clear our health care system is falling short of what’s been promised,” said Eggen.

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