New report calls for urgent focus on cancer care following COVID-19 pandemic disruptions

The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era highlights innovative work underway and identifies improvements to boost cancer system capacity and save lives

woman wearing mask and gloves

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 (Toronto, Ont.) – The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) today released a new report, The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era, that urges policymakers and health system leaders to consider cancer a priority in the wake of the pandemic.

Noting that time is of the essence, the report also shares innovative solutions already underway by partners in parts of Canada – which can be used as models for improvement by other communities across the country.

Canada must not forget cancer when allocating healthcare resources as we continue to deal with the impacts of the pandemic. The Partnership’s priority from the start of the pandemic was on meeting the needs of people with cancer whose disease did not stop, even as much of the world did, and our cancer system partners have done incredible work to deliver care during this challenging time. As we shift to pandemic recovery, we’re keeping our focus on cancer and we urge others to do the same.”

Dr. Craig Earle, CEO of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

Lives are at stake. One study predicts the possibility of more than 20,000 additional cancer-related deaths over the next 10 years.i However, that could be reduced by almost 16,000 if the cancer system’s diagnostic and treatment capacity is increased 10% above pre-pandemic levels.ii

Putting the focus on cancer in key areas

Strengthening Canada’s cancer system starts with getting a clear picture of what’s happening today, and what kinds of responses and investments will be needed for the future. Policy-makers and cancer system leaders should take action now to focus on the key areas identified in The road to recovery, and can draw on the many examples of innovative, practical actions already underway across the country the report highlights.”

Dr. Craig Earle, CEO of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

These actions and solutions can be found here:

The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era identifies a number of challenges that arose during the pandemic, such as delays in cancer screening and diagnosis, disruption of cancer prevention services, treatment and care, and pressures on the healthcare workforce. This resulted in real impacts on real people, exacerbating health and social inequities, with a disproportionate effect on First Nations, Inuit and Métis.

The report notes that, as COVID-19 continues to disrupt Canada’s cancer system, attention needs to be given to three key focus areas to boost system capacity and save lives:

  1. solving the healthcare human resources crunch
  2. preparing for a surge in cases
  3. leveraging the potential of new ways of delivering care including those supported by digital technologies

It also highlights the fact that, to improve care and outcomes for cancer patients, health equity must be at the forefront of Canada’s pandemic response and recovery.

Find out more in The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era

The report brings together recent data and research from partners across Canada, and it also shares examples and stories of innovative approaches already underway to improve cancer care.

Throughout the pandemic, healthcare professionals and cancer system partners across Canada dedicated themselves to supporting patients and their families through a very difficult period. Our government is committed to improving access to health care and supporting healthcare professionals to ensure Canadians have access to the care they deserve. This timely and insightful report provides examples and ideas to improve cancer care for patients everywhere.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health

Read The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era report.

Share your thoughts, actions and innovations on the road to recovery using #FocusOnCancer.

About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

As the steward of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control (the Strategy), the Partnership works with Canada’s cancer community to take action to ensure people in Canada have equitable access to quality cancer care, fewer people get cancer, more people survive cancer and those living with the disease have a better quality of life. This work is guided by the Strategy, which was refreshed for 2019 to 2029 and will help drive measurable change for all people in Canada affected by cancer. The Strategy includes eight priorities, which will tackle the most pressing challenges in cancer control as well as distinct First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples-specific priorities and actions reflecting Canada’s commitment to reconciliation. The Partnership oversees the implementation of the priorities in collaboration with organizations and individuals on the front lines of cancer care – the provinces and territories, healthcare professionals, people living with cancer and those who care for them, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, governments and organizations, and its funder Health Canada.

The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era report supports the implementation of the Strategy. Addressing the impact of the pandemic will be a key consideration in the planning and implementation of the Partnership’s work with partners as we shift from pandemic response to pandemic recovery.

Learn more about the Partnership and the Strategy at

i Predicted long–term impact of COVID–19 pandemic–related care delays on cancer mortality in Canada (
ii Predicted long–term impact of COVID–19 pandemic–related care delays on cancer mortality in Canada (


Media contact

Gelek Badheytsang
Strategic Communications Lead
Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
416-915-9222 x5977