There were an estimated 186,400 new cases of cancer and 75,700 deaths from cancer in Canada last year alone. Cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada, accounting for 30% of all deaths.
Right now in Canada we have a patchwork approach to providing palliative care, with significant variation both within and between provinces. This means that some patients and their families may not get the support they need during a difficult time; this is unacceptable.
Survey data show that most terminally ill people would prefer to die at home, but more than 55% of deaths occur in hospitals. One reason for this is because community-based services are not available for dying people in some jurisdictions.
It’s tough to talk about dying from cancer or any illness, but no matter how difficult, it’s crucial to continue discussing and examining the topic. Current data about the availability and quality of end-of-life care for people with cancer is sparse and inconsistently collected across the country.
Every person who is dying from cancer deserves the best of care, no matter where they live. Action is needed to ensure palliative care services are in place to meet the needs of patients now and in the future.
To learn about initiatives and services provided by the Canadian Cancer Society, visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.