News Release Archive


Cancer care in Nova Scotia will improve as a result of an action
plan announced today by Premier John Savage. The action plan
includes the creation of Cancer Care Nova Scotia to better
coordinate treatment of the disease.

"The benefits will be tremendous in this province where we have
such high rates of cancer mortality," said Premier Savage. "We
want to improve on the quality care available now to Nova
Scotians. Cancer care will be better managed to ensure that all
Nova Scotians suffering from this disease can have the best care
and outcome possible."

A plan for comprehensive, integrated and accountable cancer care
in Nova Scotia was presented to the Department of Health in May
1996 in a report called Cancer Care Nova Scotia: A Plan for
Action. The report's authors, a volunteer committee made up of
physicians, academics, nurses, administrators and representatives
of the Canadian Cancer Society and the Department of Health,
suggested various approaches for the integration and
co-ordination of cancer care.

The Department of Health has accepted the majority of the
recommendations in the committee's report.

"Climbing incidence rates, new challenges in treatments and
technology, an aging population, the profound, human impact of
cancer on the patient and the high cost to the health care system
all mean an immediate action plan is necessary," said Health
Minister Bernie Boudreau.

The goal is to achieve progress in cancer control, he said. This
will be achieved through improved practices in the delivery of
cancer care and the widespread application of the best current
research and knowledge in the continuum of cancer care from
prevention through treatment, palliation, restoration and

Clinical guidelines outlining the most effective approaches,
evaluation of the effectiveness of treatments and application of
standards will lead to better overall care, the minister said.

In general, the report's authors believe their recommendations
will help to promote the physical, psychological, social and
spiritual well being of people with cancer, reduce the incidence
of cancer, reduce the cancer mortality rate, improve the quality
of life for people living with cancer and focus on outcomes.

A comprehensive model, with minimal bureaucracy, has been
selected for carrying out the plan for action. Cancer Care Nova
Scotia will be headed by a commissioner, reporting to the Deputy
Minister of Health. The commissioner will be supported by a
development co-ordinator, and an advisory committee of volunteer
stakeholders with expertise in cancer care who reflect the needs
of the different geographic regions of Nova Scotia.

A search committee will be struck to find a commissioner. In the
meantime, the development co-ordinator will begin to lay the
groundwork for Cancer Care Nova Scotia. Some key aspects of
co-ordinated cancer care for Nova Scotia will include:

*  better management and co-ordination of the continuum of cancer
   care programs from prevention, screening/detection, education,
   research, treatment, support and rehabilitation to palliative

*  establishment of  multi-disciplinary teams to set clinical

*  advice on the location and specifics of cancer care services
   for the province;

*  establishment of cancer data bases and technological supports
   for cancer care providers to encourage province-wide

*  strengthening of consumer input through their partnership with
   multi-disciplinary planning teams;

*  fostering of interprovincial links within the Maritime

*  encouraging the development of a network for exchange of ideas
   on cancer care;

*  strengthening of the family physician's role in cancer care
   coordination that will enhance communication with patients and
   their families.

An annual report to the Minister of Health will help to update
the public on progress in treatment and outcomes for Nova
Scotians. The Department of Health has already allocated
necessary start-up funds for this initiative.

The action plan will be carefully managed to maintain the
continuity of current care while introducing measures to improve
the quality and effectiveness of cancer care in the province.


Contact: Lori MacLean  902-424-5025

trp                   Nov. 04, 1996 - 11 a.m.