Breast, colon, lung cancer survival rates below average in Hamilton region: cancer report

Nearly 80 per cent of cancer surgeries in the Hamilton region are being completed within recommended time frames, a new report found. Sam Edwards/Getty Images

A new report into cancer care in Ontario reveals that survival rates for three forms of the disease are short of provincial averages in the Hamilton region.

The data, which covers the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) of Hamilton, Brant, Haldimand and Niagara, shows that the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 84.6 per cent, compared to 88.6 per cent for Ontario.

Lung cancer survival rates are over two percentage points lower than average at 18.1 per cent.

For colon cancer, the rate is at 66.4 per cent, about a percentage point lower than average. The figures are based on the latest data available, which spans from 2009 to 2013.

The Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Regional Cancer Program said that those rates showed improvement from the previous report card.

“We’re moving in the right direction, but want to see those numbers improve,” Dr.  Ralph Meyer, VP of oncology and palliative care for Hamilton Health Sciences and regional VP for Cancer Care Ontario, said in a media release.

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Prostate cancer survival rates are on par with the provincial average of 95 per cent.

Breast, colon, lung cancer survival rates below average in Hamilton region: cancer report - image
Cancer Quality Council of Ontario

The numbers were published in the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario’s interactive Cancer System Quality Index on Wednesday.

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The advisory group’s annual report card evaluates the cancer system across dozens of indicators, including prevention, screening, treatment and survival rates. The results are used in allocating government resources.

The index shows nearly 80 per cent of cancer patients within the LHIN had surgery within the recommended time frame, short of the provincial target of 90 per cent.

“We recognize the demand and are looking at ways to improve wait times,” Dr. Meyer said.

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The report also said some risk factors for cancer are more prevalent in Hamilton than the average for the province.

Just over 23 per cent of adults in the Hamilton LHIN are daily smokers, compared to the Ontario average of 19 per cent, according to the most recent data available (2013-2014).

Obesity was at 29 per cent, compared to 25.8, and rates of alcohol consumption beyond cancer prevention guidelines are at 9.1 per cent, compared to 8.3 per cent.

The region also has a higher number of people over 50 — 41 per cent versus 38 for Ontario.

The report projected there would be 10,333 new cancer cases for the region in 2017 and nearly 4,000 deaths.


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