The Canadian Cancer Society recognizes that facing life-threatening illness, especially in relation to pain and suffering, can cause great concern and severe hardship for some people. The Society promotes and supports the need for improved development and delivery of early, active, competent and compassionate palliative care, which includes: expert pain management; skilled psychosocial, emotional and spiritual support; and comfortable living conditions with the appropriate level of care – whether at home, in a hospital or any other settings of patients’ choice. The Society believes that all Canadians should be able to choose the best care for them throughout their cancer journey.
The Society also recognizes that assisted dying is a controversial issue that evokes strong opinions and emotional responses for Canadians.
Recently the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the existing law against physician-assisted dying must be changed, but it is not yet clear what this means for those seeking assistance in dying, or for those who may assist them. While laws across the country are reviewed over the coming year, talk with your healthcare team about what’s best for you and allowed in your province or territory.
As a national organization, we are closely following the discussions around physician-assisted dying. The Society’s efforts remain focused on ensuring that dying cancer patients spend their final days with dignity, free of pain and in a setting of their choice.