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High marks for cancer treatment

Despite sobering reports of high cancer incidence rates in Nova Scotia,patients report they are satisfied with the overall care they receive.

Despite sobering reports of high cancer incidence rates in Nova Scotia, patients report they are satisfied with the overall care they receive. But they say more can be done to allay the emotional concerns that often accompany treatment of this complex disease.

According to the results of a 2007 patient survey released yesterday, 98 per cent of respondents from the Nova Scotia Cancer Centre in Halifax described their overall experience as excellent, very good or good. The Cancer Care Nova Scotia data shows 98.6 per cent of participants from the Cape Breton Cancer Centre in Sydney, and all respondents from satellite oncology sites across the province, gave positive answers. The national average is 97 per cent.

“This clearly tells us that as Nova Scotians, we are doing something right,” health minister Chris d’Entremont said.

The results come on the heels of Canadian Cancer Society statistics, which show more Nova Scotians are diagnosed with cancer than anywhere else in the country.

D’Entremont said the “root cause” of these cancers must be identified, and spoke to the importance of continued investment in healthy eating programs and recreational facilities.

He said more must be done to address emotional support, which was identified as an area of improvement across the province. In the Capital District, only 35 per cent of respondents said they were put in touch with providers to help quell their fear and despair after diagnosis.

Theresa Marie Underhill, chief operating officer for Cancer Care Nova Scotia, said the department is working on a distress management tool.

“It’s tremendously anxious to have any disease of that significance, and cancer remains very complex and it still is a big black box for many people,” she said.

rachel.mendleson@metronews.ca

 
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