Access to Care

Access to Care

Who doesn’t get treatment?  Who should?


Radiotherapy (RT) utilization – the proportion of cancer patients who receive RT can be considered a key measure of access.  This has been calculated regionally in several provinces including British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Studies in these provinces have shown that RT utilization rates fall short of desired benchmarks, currently around 34%.  This suggests that some cancer patients who live in these provinces, and who would benefit from RT are not receiving it.

CPQR is working with stakeholders to help understand weather these shortfalls also exist in other Canadian provinces, and to what extent.  This work is just the first step in understanding inequities in access to radiation treatment across Canada, barriers to access and equitable access for all Canadians and improved cancer outcomes.


What is currently being done

CPQR is thrilled to be working with Jessica Chan, its new residency training fellow.  Under Jessica’s guidance, CPQR will gather data on RT utilization ratios for each Canadian province, and conduct a comparison of these ratios across the country.  This involves the collection of data on the total number of new RT patients treated over a 1 year time period, classified by disease site (lung, breast, prostate, colorectal) and intent (curative, palliative).  Engaging RT leads in each province, CPQR will either access this data by accessing each province’s central repository of RT data to obtain the total number of RT patients treated within a province, or approach each RT centre within a province to obtain the number of RT patients treated per centre.

Data on the number of new cancer cases will be obtained through each province’s cancer registry, with coordination through the provincial RT lead. By dividing the number of RT patients by the province’s number of new cancer cases, CPQR will acquire the RT utilization ratio for each province, and then compare these ratios in each province with previously established Canadian benchmarks.

Learn more about Jessica with a Q & A here!