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Health and Community Services
November 2, 2010

Provincial Cancer Control Strategy Released

Following a significant investment of over $125 million in cancer prevention and treatment over the last seven years, the Williams Government today released a provincial cancer control strategy entitled Gaining Ground: A Provincial Cancer Control Policy Framework for Newfoundland and Labrador. The Honourable Jerome Kennedy, Minister of Health and Community Services, was joined by Dr. Oscar Howell, Vice-President Medical Services and Diagnostics, Eastern Health; and, Dr. Pradip Ganguly, Divisional Chief of Radiation Oncology, Eastern Health, for the official release of the strategy. Minister Kennedy also announced today approximately $1.5 million in this fiscal year to support several new cancer control initiatives.

"Improving access to cancer care has always been an important priority for our government, which is evident by the significant investments we have made in cancer prevention and treatment over the last number of years," said Minister Kennedy. "This cancer control strategy has been developed in collaboration with our many partners and stakeholders and focuses on a full range of activities to prevent cancer, detect cancer at an early stage, improve treatment and support the needs of individuals affected by cancer."

The goal of the strategy is to reduce the incidence and impact of cancer and to improve the quality of life of those living with cancer in Newfoundland and Labrador. To help achieve this, the Framework identifies nine key policy directions that reflect current best practices and lessons learned from all aspects of cancer control and will be used to guide the Provincial Government's future cancer control efforts. These directions include:

  • Cancer prevention through promoting a healthy population;
  • Identifying individuals at risk;
  • Coordinating care;
  • Supportive and palliative care;
  • Clinical practice guidelines;
  • Access and advocacy;
  • Surveillance and information systems and technology;
  • Education and training; and,
  • Accountability and measuring success.

"As stewards of the Provincial Cancer Care Program, we welcome a solid framework from which we can develop action plans to support the fight against cancer," said Dr. Howell. "The Provincial Government's significant investments in screening programs, state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and cancer treatments have helped us strengthen our cancer care program. The provincial strategy will help us move from treating cancer to detecting it earlier and even preventing it."

Minister Kennedy also announced today the establishment of a new Provincial Cancer Control Advisory Committee, and the appointment of Dr. Pradip Ganguly as chair of that committee. Dr. Ganguly will provide advice to the minister on the composition of the committee, and will give recommendations on other related matters.

"I am delighted to serve the people of Newfoundland and Labrador in this capacity and work with the committee in the weeks and months ahead," said Dr. Ganguly. "We are all stakeholders in cancer care and only by working together will we move forward in the control of this disease. This is a day we can all be proud of."

Approximately $1.5 million in funding was announced for several cancer control initiatives this fiscal year. More funding will be made available to support priorities following the implementation of the Provincial Cancer Control Advisory Committee. The funding announced today will support the following new initiatives:

Promotion of Cancer Prevention Through a Healthy Population

  • $300,000 for a new grant program for community organizations and health care professionals to support cancer prevention and awareness projects; and,
  • $50,000 for the Alliance for the Control of Tobacco (ACT) to develop a social media campaign directed at youth and young adults.

Enhancements in Early Detection and Screening

  • $400,000 to examine ways of improving existing screening programs and promoting increased participation in these programs. This includes a review of screening practices to ensure alignment with best practices to identify needs for program enhancement; and,
  • $190,000 for an analysis of the waitlist and workflow for existing endoscopy services, which began in May of this year.

Supporting Individuals with Cancer

  • $428,000 for the Regional Health Authorities to enhance and expand existing palliative care and end-of-life services, which will result in a total annualized investment of approximately $1.3 million;
  • $100,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society, Newfoundland and Labrador Division, to improve access to and the understanding of cancer-related information for residents through educational programs delivered by trained volunteers throughout the province; and,
  • $70,000 for Young Adult Cancer Canada to support the continued growth of its organization and to create awareness of and understanding among allied health professionals of the unique issues facing young adults with cancer in the province.

As announced during the update on the progress in implementing the recommendations of the report of the Commission of Inquiry on Hormone Receptor Testing in March of this year, the patient navigation service will be implemented in December with a focus on cancer care as recommended in the Cameron Report. Patient navigators will assist patients and their families in dealing or communicating with hospital staff.

"We know that one third of cancer can be prevented and that early detection and effective treatment of another third is also possible," said Minister Kennedy. "Our investments today, combined with our continued commitment to enhancing cancer care, will support increased screening to support early detection. It is our hope that through continued efforts, more cancer can be prevented, and that through continued treatment advances, we are able to cure more of those who are diagnosed with cancer."

To obtain a copy of Gaining Ground: A Provincial Cancer Control Policy Framework for Newfoundland and Labrador, visit

In addition to the funding announced today, Budget 2010: The Right Investments For Our Children and Our Future includes approximately $18 million to enhance cancer treatment and prevention throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. This includes almost $8.6 million for the purchase of equipment used in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer; $5 million to continue implementing the recommendations of the Cameron Report; $3.2 million to cover the cost of 10 new drug therapies under the Newfoundland and Labrador Prescription Drug Program, including cancer drugs; $800,000 to continue funding the HPV immunization program for adolescent females; $317,000 for operational funding for a radiopharmacist and a program director to begin planning for the new Positron Emissions Tomography (PET) scanner at Eastern Health, and funding to announce an accredited stem cell transplant program; and, $240,000 for the initial implementation of a new Provincial Colorectal Cancer Screening Program.

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Media contacts:

Tansy Mundon
Director of Communications
Department of Health and Community Services
709-729-1377, 685-2646
Jackie O'Brien
Media Relations Specialist
Eastern Health

2010 11 02                                                   12:45 p.m.

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