Canadian Cancer Statistics report shows cancer death rate is dropping

Measuring performance crucial in improving cancer system; Partnership's System Performance work adds to the dialogue

2011 Cancer System Performance Report coverData from the recently released Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012 show that while cancer remains the leading cause of death in Canada, progress is being made — with overall cancer death rates dropping by 21% in men and 9% in women between 1988 and 2007.

The report, produced annually by the Canadian Cancer Society in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Statistics Canada, provides updates on cancer incidence, mortality, survival, prevalence and risk of developing or dying from cancer. Systematically recording and tracking these statistics is a key part of understanding the progress being made to address cancer — work the Partnership is also supporting through its annual system performance reports.

“Good data and strong analysis are essential to improving outcomes in cancer control,” said Dr. Heather Bryant, Vice-President of Cancer Control at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. “The Partnership’s work identifying and measuring additional performance indicators complements the Canadian Cancer Society’s reporting by trying to pinpoint areas across the cancer continuum in which further work could accelerate this progress”

Considered a core element in driving the implementation of Canada’s national cancer strategy, the Partnership’s work in system performance has clearly defined goals for the next five years. The Partnership will continue to work with system partners, including provincial cancer programs and agencies, to enhance and expand system performance reporting. This includes developing new indicators to ensure all aspects of the performance of the cancer control system — from prevention and screening through treatment to survivorship and end-of-life care — are measured.

The Partnership is also working collaboratively to develop a comprehensive picture of how population and patient needs are being met. New measures are being developed to assess the quality of the patient experience throughout the cancer journey. Analyses will also be conducted to examine how the needs of specific populations, such as people living in rural and remote areas, are being met within the cancer system. Other indicators will look at the efficient use of resources in delivering cancer control.

The aim is to have a key set of agreed-upon evidence-based cancer control performance targets and benchmarks for the country in place by 2017. In addition, specific initiatives are expected to be identified in the short-term to help drive quality improvements.

“The key to success in the Partnership’s system performance work is that it is driven by the collective vision and participation of cancer control partners across the country,” says Dr. Terry Sullivan, Chair of the Partnership’s Quality Improvement and System Performance Advisory Group. “The Partnership brings the provincial cancer authorities and clinical leaders together and serves as catalyst, but it’s the provincial actors’ recognition of the value of indicators and benchmarks that drives it forward.”