The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation tackles diagnostic delays

Exasperated by the wait to obtain a breast cancer diagnosis, the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation is launching a pilot project to determine where the bottlenecks are, support women awaiting such a diagnosis and, to ultimately, reduce waiting times.

The foundation launched, Friday in Montreal, the Diagnostic Project, a telephone line for women who are in the process of pre-diagnosis, that is to say that breast cancer is suspected, but who are waiting to go to radiology. and biopsy in order to have a diagnosis and a treatment plan.

The President and CEO of the Foundation, Karine-Iseult Ippersiel, explained that Quebec is a Canadian dunce, despite a screening system recognized as one of the best in the country.

“In Quebec, a woman who suspects she has breast cancer or who has had an abnormal imaging test can sometimes wait up to 17 weeks before having her diagnosis. It’s huge. It’s way too much. Our province is ranked 10th among Canadian provinces in terms of waiting time for a diagnosis. “

The Foundation’s goal is to reduce waiting times from 17 to 7 weeks.

“It doesn’t make sense”, says Dubé.

Present at the launch, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, acknowledged that this expectation goes beyond the limits. “Every day that passes between the first assessment, the self-assessment and being confirmed, it doesn’t make sense that there is so much time passing. It doesn’t make any sense, ”he said.

Telephone line calls will be answered by women who have had breast cancer themselves. Their role will first be to offer support to women awaiting a diagnosis, to help them navigate the network to find the necessary resources.

Catherine Wilhelmy, a breast cancer survivor, will be one of those respondents. She hopes she can provide some comfort, knowing that the wait during her own pre-diagnosis period has been one of the most difficult of her life. “When the diagnosis comes with a treatment plan, it’s reassuring enough, it brings about a takeover. We have no control over the pre-diagnosis period. We have no control. We are in a very very great vulnerability, ”she said.

Find the bottlenecks

Quebec will still play a marginal role in this pilot project, which is led by the Foundation, but Christian Dubé argued that the respondents will also have the mission of documenting the obstacles that women encounter in obtaining the diagnosis. “I want to understand where the bottlenecks are in these processes and, when we understand them, I can tell you that we will make it happen. “

Minister Dubé recognizes that the causes of the delays may vary from region to region, hence the importance of obtaining as much data as possible and being able to tackle problems individually if necessary.

Telephone line helper pairs can be reached at 1-855-561-ROSE (7673). The service is free.

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