Long waits for di­ag­nos­tic imag­ing ex­pected to worsen

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - JOANNA FRKETICH jfr­ketich@thes­pec.com 905-526-3349 | @Jfr­ketich

Is­sues with area can­cer pa­tients ac­cess­ing di­ag­nos­tic imag­ing are ev­i­dent in a pro­vin­cial re­port and only ex­pected to get worse, says the head of Hamil­ton’s can­cer cen­tre.

On­tario aims to have 90 per cent or more of women aged 30 to 69 screened within 90 days of be­ing con­firmed as a high risk for breast can­cer.

Only 17 per cent of women got an MRI in the tar­get time frame in 2015 in the Hamil­ton Ni­a­gara Haldimand Brant Lo­cal Health In­te­gra­tion Net­work, which in­cludes Burling­ton.

It is a huge drop from 30 per cent the year be­fore, re­veals the an­nual re­port by the Can­cer Qual­ity Coun­cil of On­tario.

“This is a whole On­tario-wide is­sue with ac­cess to MR,” said Dr. Ralph Meyer, CEO of the Ju­ravin­ski Hos­pi­tal and Can­cer Cen­tre. “Are we overus­ing MR for other pur­poses?” The On­tario aver­age is also far off the tar­get, with just un­der half of pa­tients get­ting an MRI in time. No parts of the prov­ince came close, the high­est rate be­ing 73 per cent.

Com­pound­ing the is­sue is that women con­sid­ered to be high risk have to be screened every year, so the bur­den just con­tin­ues to grow.

“There is a lot of de­bate about that,” said Meyer. “The num­ber of women in­creases con­sid­er­ably each year.”

The sit­u­a­tion is not much bet­ter when it comes to com­put­er­ized to­mog­ra­phy (CT) or positron emis­sion to­mog­ra­phy (PET) scans.

On­tario’s tar­get is for 90 per cent of esophageal can­cer pa­tients to have a CT or PET scan prior to cu­ra­tive treat­ment.

Just 67 per cent of pa­tients got that scan be­tween 2011 and 2015 in the Hamil­ton-area LHIN.

“As we move for­ward, this is go­ing to be a stress,” said Meyer. “The de­mand is go­ing to be a chal­lenge.”

The pro­vin­cial aver­age was bet­ter than Hamil­ton’s at 78 per cent, but still well be­low the tar­get.

“It’s be­ing ad­dressed at a pro­vin­cial level,” said Meyer.

Ju­ravin­ski has space ready for CT and PET scan­ners that would be ded­i­cated to can­cer pa­tients, but there is no cap­i­tal money to buy them. “We’re not in a po­si­tion to move for­ward on this,” said Meyer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.