Pan-Canadian standards for thoracic surgery

Use this document as a decision-making resource to ensure all Canadians who need thoracic surgery will receive consistent, high-quality care

Released by the Partnership in March 2018, the document provides high-level guidance and discussion on the foundational resources and requirements that need to be in place to improve cancer surgical care and its outcomes.

The document’s actionable recommendations aim to address current gaps and increase the quality of care in Canada for thoracic surgery. Of course, these standards will need to be tailored according to local health systems.

Lung cancer kills more people than prostate, colon, and breast cancer combined. Lung cancer currently makes up 14 per cent of all diagnosed cancer cases in Canada, but represents 27 per cent of all cancer deaths. It has a five-year survival estimate of 14 per cent for males and 20 per cent for females, making it the leading cause of death from cancer.

This document includes the following topics:

  • Thoracic surgery in general, with emphasis on cancer surgery
  • Timely access to care from a pre-, peri-, and post-operative scope of standards
  • Training and maintaining competencies for thoracic surgeons
  • Access to services and equipment
  • Access to oncologists, other physicians, and allied health
  • Resources for patients and families (for example, smoking cessation programs)
  • Quality processes, including multidisciplinary tumour-board rounds

This document’s target audience is thoracic surgeons in Canada. Secondary users include Ministries of Health, as well as other physicians and collaborating specialties (for example, anesthesiologists, radiologists, pathologists). Other users, like thoracic surgeons from other countries, hospital administrators, and local cancer authorities may also benefit from this document.

These standards were informed by environmental scans, a literature review and evidence-informed expert consensus. This document highlights key areas, like the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s (RCPSC) system for evaluating and formally certifying training in thoracic surgery.

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