As the voice of cancer patients in Manitoba, the Canadian Cancer Society works to affect change in this province to ensure that governments at all levels and the health care system hear the voice of Manitobans and make changes that are responsive to the evolving needs of cancer patients, their families and the general public.
We work with like minded organizations including:
• Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance
• Partners in Planning for Healthy Living
• Alliance for the Prevention of Chronic Disease
• Canadian Cancer Action Network
These partnerships represent opportunities to make our collective voice stronger, reduce overlap and duplication and help keep our administrative costs down.
Our most important partnership remains with Manitobans. By working together over the last few years we have been a powerful catalyst for great and meaningful change that directly impacts more than 70,000 Manitobans on a cancer journey today and thousands more into the future.
With the support of more than 13,000 Manitobans who put their names in support of a cancer action plan, the Cancer Society was able to convince the provincial government to announce more than $58 million in new cancer initiatives that will:
• Reduce wait times
• Increase access to care
• Increase the number of doctors who specialize in cancer diagnosis
The Manitoba Division of the Canadian Cancer Society worked with others for three years, which led to three major projects that will impact thousands of lives every year.
Increased provincial tobacco control spending – Manitoba has historically had one of the lowest investments in tobacco control spending. The Canadian Cancer Society helped to convince the government in 2011 to promise to increase the amount it was spending on helping Manitobans go tobacco free, from $1 million a year to $5 million a year. This was agreed to after the Cancer Society pointed out that the government was collecting more than $250 million in tobacco taxes but spending less than $1 million to help people quit. In 2012, the government increased its spending by agreeing to cover the cost of the proven effective smoking cessation drug Champix.
Manitoba Cancer Patient Journey Project – The Cancer Society has long advocated to reduce wait times not only for various kinds of treatment but also the time it takes from the first suspicion of cancer to a formal diagnosis. Today, that can take up to nine months. Last year the government announced a $40 million project to reduce the times from the first suspicion of cancer to treatment to less than eight weeks. This project, which builds on aggressive cancer wait time reduction strategies pioneered in the United Kingdom, will ease the anxiety for about 61,000 Manitobans who receive a cancer scare every year.
Home Cancer Drug Program – For three years the Cancer Society has made the case that it was not fair that cancer patients who received their treatment in pill form outside a clinical setting had to pay for it, while the costs were covered by the government if it was taken in a hospital. The policy – that was out of step with what was taking place in the other Western provinces – forced rural Manitobans to leave their communities and families to travel to Winnipeg for treatment. In 2011, Manitobans supported the Cancer Society view that this was not fair. More than 13,000 signed petition letters supporting the Cancer Society and then, in a public opinion poll, 91% said that the government should cover the cost of cancer treatment and support drugs no matter where they were taken.
In 2012, shortly after being elected to a second mandate, the government announced the Home Cancer Drug Program. Since it was announced 10 months ago, more than 6,800 Manitobans have enrolled in the program reducing patient costs by about $5 million.