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Roger Collier | CMAJ | June 15, 2018

  • Half of cases of colorectal cancer in Canada are diagnosed after the disease has already spread and could have been caught earlier through screening, according to a report by the Canadian Cancer Society. The five-year survival rate for colorectal cancer detected at stage 1 is 90%, but plummets to 15% if detected at stage 4.
  • A survey found that 72% of Canadian men have two or more unhealthy lifestyle habits, including poor diets, excessive drinking and inactivity. Only 6% of respondents to the survey of 2000 men, conducted for the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, reported having no unhealthy behaviours and were classified as “very healthy.”
  • Wait times for urgent hip surgery in Ontario is nearly 39 hours, above the recommended 24 hours, according to a CMAJ study. Only a third of patients received surgeries within 24 hours of entering hospital.
  • The rate of growth of Canada’s regulated nursing workforce in 2016–2017 (0.7%) was the lowest in a decade, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Despite the drop, attributed to a decline in nursing graduates and an increase in retirements, regulated nurses still account for 48% of health care professionals in Canada.
  • Lack of funding for palliative care in Quebec is pushing more patients toward physician-assisted deaths, according to a group of doctors in the province. The Quebec College of Physicians also expressed concern about palliative care, stating that patients who request physician-assisted deaths “are given priority access to available resources to the detriment of other patients at the end of their lives.”
  • The British Columbia Centre on Substance Use released a guideline on treating youth with opioid-use disorder. Treating youth with the disorder has been difficult because of “the absence of evidence-based guidelines and scarcity of youth-focused treatment resources,” stated the centre.
  • Access to mental health care is lacking in northern Saskatchewan, according to a provincial auditor report. Demand is high but wait times are too long, and record-keeping is inefficient, states the report.
  • The names of high-billing doctors in Ontario should not be disclosed publicly according to lawyers for several physician groups, including the Ontario Medical Association (OMA). Physicians are different than other professionals paid from pubic funds because they don’t have employment contracts with the government, argued the lawyers.
  • The federal government is investing $223,000 to support frontline health workers in educating the public about health and safety aspects of using cannabis. Focus will be put on reaching Canadians most at risk of harm from cannabis use, including youth and pregnant women.
  • The government of British Columbia announced it will cover the cost of insulin pumps ($6000–$7000) for residents with diabetes regardless of age. Previously, coverage was provided only for people age 25 and under.

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