Cancer Care Nova Scotia is asking for feedback on draft clinical standards for diagnosing and referring patients who have possible signs of colorectal cancer.
Patients, survivors and their families are asked to review the draft standards and give feedback.
Clinical standards give doctors and other health professionals information about how to diagnose and treat a disease based on the latest evidence. This includes types of tests and treatments, where they are done, and when they need to take place to ensure patients get high-quality care. Clinical standards also help patients know what to ask for, and expect, from the health system.
“Patients and family doctors have told us that the process could be improved,” said Dr. Heather Johnson, a family doctor from Bridgewater, and chair of the working group that drafted the standards. “These standards are intended to provide family doctors and other health professionals with an improved process to ensure that every patient receives the necessary tests as quickly as possible. It also outlines the step-by-step process for referring a patient for treatment once a diagnosis is made.”
Chris Collier, interim chief operating officer for Cancer Care Nova Scotia, said engaging patients and their families is key.
“They offer important insights as members of our standards working groups and on the clinical standards oversight committee,” he said. “We also invite patients, survivors and their families to review each set of draft standards to ensure they address patient concerns.”
Cancer survivors Archie MacEachern, of Sydney, and Robin McGee, of Kentville, are committee members.
“As cancer survivors, our perspective is unique,” said Mr. MacEachern. “Patients and families provided insightful feedback on rectal cancer treatment standards and spoke of areas where improved patient education is needed.
“I strongly encourage patients, survivors and family members of a loved one who has had colon cancer to consider sharing their thoughts on this.”
The draft standards are available at www.cancercare.ns.ca/CRCstandards . The deadline for the online survey on the website is Oct. 13.
There will also be focus groups in Halifax and Truro on Oct. 8, and in Sydney on Oct. 9. The deadline for registering is Oct. 3. Space is limited. Those interested in participating can call 1-866-599-2267.
People who cannot provide feedback in these ways can call Sarah MacDonald, patient engagement co-ordinator, at 1-866-599-2267.
Cancer Care Nova Scotia, a Department of Health and Wellness program, was created in 1998 to facilitate quality cancer prevention and care for all Nova Scotians.