Chair's Message

Cancer Care Ontario Bulletin

Lots of information and media releases flow across a family physician's desk or computer screen, so much so that it is often hard to keep on top of everything. Useful information is often buried in the details of a newsletter or bulletin.

Such is the case with the Cancer Care Ontario Bulletin for Primary Care that was released in April 2017. I finally got around to reading this, and noted some interesting statistics about our area.

First of all, the overall cancer incidence for all cancers in the Southwest LHIN, (SW LHIN), was higher than the Ontario average in the latest statistics from 2010/12 at 714 per 100,000 person years, age standardized. For some of the more common cancers such as breast cancer, age group 50-74, the rate was 329 per 100,000 person years, age standardized vs. 316 for the Ontario average; cervical cancer, age < 50, 9.9 vs. 10.0 for Ontario; Colorectal cancer, age 50-74, 211.6 for SW LHIN vs. 187.9 for Ontario; and Lung cancer, age > 50, 205.7 vs. 204.6 for Ontario.

It is surprising that the SW LHIN has one of the highest rates of colorectal cancer in the province. One could legitimately ask why this is, and hope that research is being conducted in this area.

The report also pointed to where family physicians could play a role by counseling our patients about risk factors for cancer and chronic disease. Statistics for the SW LHIN included the following:

  • more physical inactivity than the Ontario average in 2013/14, 51.5 per cent vs. 47.9 per cent for Ontario.
  • more inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption, 66.8 per cent vs. 65.7 per cent for Ontario.
  • are more obese and overweight, 66.1% in the SW LHIN had BMI > 25, compared to 65.7 per cent for Ontario.
  • more alcohol consumption, above the guideline, 4 per cent vs. 8.3 per cent for Ontario.
  • had more smokers, 20.9 per cent vs. 19 per cent for Ontario.

We need to redouble our efforts to reach our patients and encourage a healthier lifestyle on several fronts in order to change the cancer incidence profile in the Southwest LHIN.

This is our last newsletter for the academic year. Please look for our next issue in September. Have a good summer.

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