2015 Cancer system performance report

Learn about 17 indicators that address cancer prevention, screening, treatment, and more

The 2015 Cancer system performance report is the Partnership’s sixth report that looks at the cancer system’s performance across Canada. This report presents indicators that measure performance, and shows patterns and trends for making improvements.

This report includes findings for 17 indicators, which are organized in relation to prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and the person-centered perspective.

Four new targets for prevention and screening have been included in this report, as well as the following three special features:

  • Active transportation rates in Canada that measure the amount people walk or cycle to and from school or work
  • Update on rates of self-reported cancer screening in underserved populations
  • How positron emission tomography (PET) scans are used in the management of non-small cell lung cancer

Quick facts from this 2015 report

  • This year a target of a 12 per cent national smoking rate was introduced in order to motivate smoking-reduction efforts and assess preventive efforts. As of 2013, no province or territory had achieved that target.
  • As of 2010, all provinces and territories had implemented organized school-based HPV vaccination programs. Vaccine uptake ranged from 47 per cent in the Northwest Territories to 93.8 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador. Monitoring the different uptakes will help to identify performance gaps and inform more efforts to prevent HPV.
  • Trends suggest improved wait times in several provinces. Resolving an abnormal cancer screening in a timely manner means a shortened period of uncertainty and anxiety for people who receive a negative diagnosis (no cancer), and earlier detection and possibly improved treatments for people with a positive diagnosis (cancer).
  • From 2008 to 2011, the percentage of colon cancer resection surgeries with 12 or more lymph nodes examined continued to increase steadily across all provinces. In 2011, one of eight reporting provinces (Ontario) was close to meeting the target of 90 per cent. Alberta, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador reached levels above 80 per cent.
  • The percentage of women who were treated by mastectomy ranged from 25.3 per cent in Quebec to 68.3 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador. Breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation therapy is less invasive than mastectomy, and is associated with lower rates of death, improved cosmetic appearance and better psychological outcomes.
  • In 2013, eight of nine provinces had achieved the target of 90 per cent of patients starting radiation therapy within the national wait-time target of 28 days.
  • The percentage of patients diagnosed in 2011 with Stage II or IIIA non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who received adjuvant chemotherapy ranged from 45.8 per cent in Alberta to 50 per cent in Nova Scotia. Chemotherapy following resection has been shown to improve both disease-free and overall five-year survival for patients when compared to surgery alone.
  • The use of a standardized tool to screen people with cancer for distress varied across the country. In 2014, eight out of ten provinces used a tool to screen at least some patients.
  • Studies show that patients who were treated in cancer centres with active clinical trials tended to have better health outcomes compared to those treated in centres that didn’t participate in trials.
  • Regular screening mammograms are recommended for women aged 50 to 74 years. In 2012, between 13.5 per cent (in the Yukon) and 37.7 per cent (in the Northwest Territories) of screening mammograms done in the previous two years were performed on women outside of that age range. Mammograms performed outside of the guidelines are resource-intensive, and can result in potentially harmful interventions.
  • The percentage of mastectomies done as day surgery between 2007 to 2012 was highest in Ontario at 34 per cent, and was at 10 per cent in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador. Same-day surgery is usually less resource-intensive than inpatient surgery and, with proper aftercare, has similar results.

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