Closing the Cancer Care Gap
2 in 5 Canadians will get cancer in their lifetime, and everyone deserves access to cancer care when they need it. It’s one of the reasons why making specialized treatment and personalized, patient-centred care available right here is an important part of building a world class health system for our community.
Today, February 4, is World Cancer Day, and the theme for 2022-2024 is Close the Care Gap. When you find out that you or someone you love has cancer, everything changes. But imagine what it would be like to then realize you could not get the care you need or would have to make tremendous sacrifices to do so? That is the reality for so many people who are diagnosed with cancer both here in our communities and around the world.
There are many factors that can impact someone’s ability to access cancer care, including income, location, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. It’s time to acknowledge the gaps in our health system and work to improve access and remove the barriers to care.
At Grand River, closing the cancer care gap means rallying our community in support of initiatives that improve patient’s ability to access care, like the Care and Compassion Fund, which helps cancer patients overcome financial barriers, so they don't have to choose between paying for costs related to their treatment and buying basic necessities like groceries.
It means garnering financial support for unfunded cancer drugs to ensure that patients can receive the treatments they need, even when they are not covered by OHIP or health benefits. Whether it’s a new medication still awaiting final approval from Cancer Care Ontario or a ground-breaking treatment that is complex and expensive to deliver, the bottom line is that not all medications are funded by the government, and without financial support, trying a different line of medication would not be an option for many patients.
It’s leadership staff at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre who oversee the Waterloo Wellington Regional Cancer Program—which has seven sites at partner hospitals in three cities and two townships and serves a population of approximately 800,000 people—making cancer care close to home a reality for our communities.
But we need your help to make exceptional cancer care accessible for everyone who needs it.
What can you do? Learn about the gaps in cancer care and how you can make a difference by visiting the World Cancer Day website, or visit GrandRiverCancer.ca to support cancer care at Grand River Regional Cancer Centre. You can also make a donation in celebration or in memory of someone in your life who has been affected by cancer.