One important area I have dedicated more time and attention to as a Member of Parliament is the subject of cancer care in Canada.
The Canadian Cancer Society has published estimates that show about one in five Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime and about one in four are expected to die from cancer. That means in 2023, an estimated 239,100 Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer and 86,700 are expected to die of the disease.
Although healthcare is primarily a provincial responsibility, my ongoing discussions with oncologists, healthcare administrators and those involved in clinical trials have highlighted the various roles the federal government can play. I believe if these areas are not addressed, they will have an increasingly negative effect on a healthcare system that is already under tremendous strain.
As our population continues to increase and grow older, our susceptibility to cancer naturally rises. Our aging demographics are facts we, as Canadians, must inevitably face.
Compared to other similar countries, Canada is slow in approving new cancer drugs. Additionally, the paperwork required by Health Canada to gain access to new drugs or therapies is burdensome and time-consuming. This burden creates a situation for doctors where helping these patients comes with the risk of drawing precious time away from burgeoning caseloads.
Federal investments in reviewing controversial breast cancer screening guidelines have also caused considerable consternation. The task force has faced criticism from patients and experts for relying on studies that are 60 years old and do not consider newer technologies or the changing demographics of the population.
To address these issues, I have partnered with Liberal MP Peter Schiefke, a cancer survivor, to create an all-party parliamentary cancer caucus. This caucus aims to engage with health professionals, organizations and patient advocacy groups to discuss and advocate for changes that will make a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.
The discussions I have had while meeting with various individuals and organizations have been positively received nationwide. As a local Member of Parliament, I am excited to bring some of these discussions to my riding by hosting a community forum. The forum will take place Monday, Nov. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the Capri Hotel in Kelowna.
I will be joined by local experts who will share their personal stories and expertise on topics like lung and breast cancer. During the event, I will also provide more details about the work being done by the cancer caucus and welcome feedback from the public on this important issue.
To ensure appropriate seating, attendees are encouraged to register at danalbasmp.ca, by clicking on the events tab.
It is my hope that with better understanding by parliamentarians and the public, we can make progress on this increasingly challenging health issue.
My question to you this week:
Are you supportive of this work? Why or why not?
I can be reached by email at [email protected] or toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.