Supplementary NS Progress Test

This page provides data visualizations related to the priorities for Canada’s cancer system, as well as accessible descriptions.

Download data tables for all indicators.


Priority 1 Action 1: Help people to stop smoking or not start in the first place and live healthier lives

Topic: Keeping people smoke-free
Title of image: Percentage of individuals in NS (aged ≥ 12) classified as daily or occasional smokers in 2019
Caveats/limitations:

  • This indicator was reported using the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). Overall smoking rates are reported using 2019 data.
  • Individuals who did not respond to the required CCHS questions regarding smoking status were not included in the analysis.

18.0% for Nova Scotia, and 14.7% for Canada
Data source: Canadian Community Health Survey


Topic: Keeping people smoke-free
Title of image: Percentage of individuals in NS (aged ≥ 18) classified as daily or occasional smokers in 2019, by household income quintile and sex
Quintile 1 (Lower quintile): females: 22.0%; males: 39.2%. Quintile 5 (Upper quintile): females: 12.8%; males: 19.8%. Table to follow.
Title of table: Percentage of individuals in NS (aged ≥ 18) classified as daily or occasional smokers in 2019, by household income quintile and sex

Sex Quintile 1 Quintile 2 >Quintile 3 Quintile 4 Quintile 5
Male 39.2% 27.4% 17.5% 11.5% 19.8%
Female 22.0% 21.6% 12.3% 10.6% 12.8%

Data source: Canadian Community Health Survey


Topic: Keeping people smoke-free
Title of image: Percentage of individuals in NS (aged ≥ 18) classified as daily or occasional smokers in 2019, by highest level of education
Less than secondary school: females: 28.6%; males: 35.8%. Secondary school, no post-secondary education: females: 24.4%; males: 29.0%. Post-secondary certificate/diploma: females: 10.7%; males: 16.9%
Title of table: Percentage of individuals in NS (aged ≥ 18) classified as daily or occasional smokers in 2019, by highest level of education

Sex Less than secondary school graduation Secondary school graduation, no post-secondary education Post-secondary certificate/diploma or university degree
Female 28.6% 24.4% 10.7%
Male 35.8% 29.0% 16.9%

Data source: Canadian Community Health Survey



Topic: Maintaining healthy body weight
Title of image: Percentage of individuals in NS (aged ≥ 18) classified as overweight or obese in 2019
Caveats/limitations:

  • This indicator was reported using the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). Overall obesity and overweight percentages are reported using 2019 data. Percentages by income quintile and/or sex are reported using 2017-2018 data.
  • Individuals who did not respond to the required CCHS questions to derive the BMI classifications were not included in the analysis.

71.8% for Nova Scotia, and 65.9% for Canada
Data source: Canadian Community Health Survey


Topic: Maintaining healthy body weight
Title of image: Percentage of individuals in NS (aged ≥ 18) classified as overweight or obese in 2017-2018, by income quintile and sex
Quintile 1 (Lower quintile): females: 66.9%; males: 74.1%. Quintile 5 (Upper quintile): females: 61.4%; males: 81.2%.Table to follow.
Title of table: Percentage of individuals in NS (aged ≥ 18) classified as overweight or obese in 2017-2018, by income quintile and sex

Sex Quintile 1 Quintile 2 Quintile 3 Quintile 4 Quintile 5
Male 71.4% 71.9% 78.3% 74.4% 81.2%
Female 66.9% 68.8% 72% 74.4% 81.2%

Data source: Canadian Community Health Survey


Topic: Maintaining healthy body weight
Title of image: Percentage of individuals in NS (aged ≥ 18) classified as overweight or obese in 2017-2018, by sex
76.2% for males, and 67.6% for females
Data source: Canadian Community Health Survey


Priority 1 Action 2: Adopt proven practices known to reduce the risk of cancer

Topic: Increasing HPV vaccination
Title of image: Percentage of Grade 7 students in NS in the 2018-2019 school year who received both doses of HPV vaccination prior to January 1, 2020
84.7% overall; 84.8% for males, and 85.1% for females
Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs


Priority 2 Action 1: Prioritize rapid access to appropriate diagnosis for those suspected of having cancer

Topic: Diagnosing cancer earlier
Title of image: Proportion* of stage 4 diagnosis in NS in 2019
*Data is projected proportions of stage 4 diagnosis in 2019
Caveats/limitations: 2019 Cancer Registry data is not currently available. Data presented is based on projections of total case counts and proportions of stage IV diagnoses.
41.6% for lung cancer and 22.0% for colorectal cancer
Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs


Priority 2 Action 2: Strengthen existing screening efforts and implement lung cancer screening programs across the country

Topic: Increasing participation in colorectal cancer screening
Title of image: Percentage of NS residents who had a FIT test result between Apr 1, 2017 – Mar 31, 2019
Overall (Age 50 to 74): 32.4%. Table to follow.
Title of table: Percentage of NS residents who had a FIT test result between Apr 1, 2017 – Mar 31, 2019

Overall (age 50-74) Age 50-54 Age 55-59 Age 60-64 Age 65-69 Age 70-74
32.4% 26.7% 21.6% 38.3% 31.4% 50.4%

Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs


Priority 3 Action 1: Set best practices and standards for care delivery and promote their adoption

Topic: Implementing multidisciplinary care
Title of image: Percentage of pediatric new oncology cases with documented multidisciplinary tumour board rounds prior to initiation of treatment in 2019-2020
Caveats/limitations:

  • This includes only documented rounds found in patient charts that contained a list of attendees with 3 or more disciplines documented in attendance
  • Data includes pediatric patients from the Maritime provinces seen at the pediatric tertiary centre (IWK Health Centre)
  • We suspect the data underestimates multidisciplinary participation in these rounds due to the reliance on chart documentation to capture the data.

68.0% for the overall pediatric population
Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs


Priority 3 Action 2: Eliminate low-benefit practices and adopt high-value practices

Topic: Optimizing care at end of life
Title of image: Percentage of patients with cancer who received chemotherapy in last two weeks of life in 2018
Caveats/limitations:

  • The denominator includes only those cancer patients who have a history of IV Chemotherapy in the past year. These patients represent 17% of all cancer patients who died in 2018.
  • Unable to report on oral chemotherapy.

Overall: 12.1%
Data sources: Provincial cancer agencies and programs



Topic: Optimizing screening and appropriate follow-up
Title of image: Percentage of people with a cervix in NS aged <25 who received a Pap smear between Jul 1, 2016 – Dec 31, 2019, by age group
Caveats/limitations:

  • Pap smear guidelines changed in Nova Scotia in February 2019. Prior to 2019, screening was recommended for individuals 21 years and older. Therefore, many individuals aged 21–24 years included in the data were screened as per recommended age guidelines at that time.
  • Data is not hysterectomy cleared. Therefore, those who had a hysterectomy and no longer eligible for PAP smear, have not been removed from the denominator.

Overall at 13.6%. Under 18 years of age at 0.6%. 18 to 20 years at 17.4%. 21 to 24 years at 53.9%.Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs


Priority 4 Action 1: Provide better services and care adapted to the specific needs of underserved groups

Topic: Increasing access to culturally safe care
Title of image: Percentage of individuals who indicated “Agreed” or “Strongly Agreed” in response to the 5-point Likert scale questions in 2020
Caveats/limitations: The survey was provided only in English and therefore people whose primary language is not English may be underrepresented in the survey. This may have impacted the results of some of the questions.

All 78.2%

Title of table: Percentage of individuals who indicated “Agreed” or “Strongly Agreed” in response to the 5-point Likert scale questions in 2020 “Care received was respectful of the patient’s…”

Values Culture Language preference Gender identity Ethnicity Abilities, physical or mental All
91.9% 85.7% 89.9% 87.2% 84.6% 89% 78.2%

Data source: The Nova Scotia Health Cancer Care Program 2020 Patient Satisfaction Survey



Topic: Increasing support to help patients navigate the system
Title of image: Percent of patients who had at least one visit with a cancer patient navigator within one year of their referral to a cancer centre specialist in 2019
Caveats/limitations:

  • No data from the Central Health Zone of Nova Scotia has been included in the analysis. Central Health Zone does not have any Cancer Patient Navigator roles. Navigation services in the Central Health Zone are carried out by other providers but data is not available.
  • In Nova Scotia, 50% cancer patients are considered to reside in rural communities and 50% in urban communities (2014-2018 NS Cancer Registry).

Overall 53.6%. Rural 57.8%. Urban 45.2%.

Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs


Priority 4 Action 2: Ensure rural and remote communities have the resources required to better serve their people

Topic: Increasing access to virtual care
Title of image: Percentage of cancer patients using virtual health appointments, by number of patients and number of appointments
Caveats/limitations:

  • In 2019 telehealth was the only virtual option for patients. Attendance at a telehealth appointment requires the patient to travel to a local hospital to attend telehealth appointments with oncologists/NP at other sites.
  • In Nova Scotia, 50% cancer patients are considered to reside in rural communities and 50% in urban communities (2014-2018 NS Cancer Registry)
  • Nova Scotia has limited coverage of broadband internet in many regions of the province reducing accessibility for at home video appointments
  • SES factors may limit access to technology required for at home video appointments

ES factoOverall: Patient-level 1.5%, Appointment-level: 0.8%.

Title of table: Percentage of cancer patients using virtual health appointments, by number of patients and number of appointments

Category Overall Rural Urban
Patient-level 1.5% 2.5% 0.6%
Appointment-level 0.8% 1.2% 0.4%

Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs


Topic: Increasing access to virtual care
Title of image: Percentage of cancer patients using virtual health appointments, by appointment type and geography
Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs
Overall: New case consult: 1.8%, return appointment: 0.5%. Table to follow.
Title of table: Percentage of cancer patients using virtual health appointments, by appointment type and geography

Category Overall Rural Urban
New case count 1.8% 2.8% 0.9%
Return appointment 0.5% 0.9% 0.3%

Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs


Topic: Increasing access to supportive psychosocial care services
Title of image: Percentage of individuals who indicated they received supportive help of those who indicated they needed supportive services

Issues: Social and family: 87.1%, Emotional: 80.3%, Spiritual: 79.2%, Practical: 86.2, Physical: 86.8%
Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs



Topic: Increasing access to supportive psychosocial care services
Title of image: Percentage of individuals who indicated they received supportive help of those who indicated they needed supportive services, stratified by geography
Caveats/limitations:

  • Respondents who did not need help are not included in the data. The proportion of respondents who did not need help varied by category: 60% did not need help with social and family issues, 55% did not need help with emotional issues, 75% did not need help with spiritual issues, 28% did not need help with physical issues, 66% did not need help with practical issues.
  • In Nova Scotia, 50% of cancer patients are considered to reside in rural communities and 50% in urban communities (2014-2018 NS Cancer Registry).

Social and family issues: Rural 89% and Urban 84.6%. Emotional issues Rural 81.4% and urban 78.8%.

Title of table: Percentage of individuals who indicated they received supportive help of those who indicated they needed supportive services, stratified by geography

Geography Social and family Emotional Spiritual Practice Physical
Rural 89% 81.4% 79.4% 83.9% 86.4%
Urban 84.6% 78.8% 78.8% 89.2% 87.2%

Data source: Nova Scotia Health Cancer Care Program 2020 Patient Satisfaction Survey



Topic: Increasing access to supportive palliative care services
Title of image: Proportion of Nova Scotians (18 yrs and older) who died in 2019 of cancer related causes and were referred to specialist palliative care services
Caveats/limitations: Only the referral closest to death was used to determine the referral timeframe. This may result in a slight underestimation in the proportion of patients referred 14 days or more for patients with multiple referrals.
Overall 80.7%
Title of table: Proportion of Nova Scotians (18 yrs and older) who died in 2019 of cancer related causes and were referred to specialist palliative care services

Overall Geography: Rural  Georgraphy: Urban  Referral status: 14 days or more to death  Referral status: Within 14 days of death  No referral
80.7% 80.9% 80.6% 61.3% 19.4% 19.3%

Data source: Provincial cancer agencies and programs


Priority 5 Action 1: Integrate the full spectrum of information and support services to ensure people are fully supported throughout the cancer experience

Topic: Improving availability of information and support
Title of image: Percentage of cancer patients who reported that they were given enough information about their cancer, its treatments, and the outcome of their cancer
Survey Question Topic by percentage. Table to follow.
Title of table: Percentage of cancer patients who reported that they were given enough information about their cancer, its treatments, and the outcome of their cancer

My cancer, (what type, where it is) My treatment plan The probable outcome for my cancer Whether the treatment is working
97.7% 96.5% 86.2% 86.2%

Data source: Nova Scotia Health Cancer Care Program 2020 Patient Satisfaction Survey