“We have universal health care coverage but somehow don’t cover this test which can save lives.” – Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates
A News Release from the Constituency Office of Niagara Falls NDP MPP Wayne Gates
Posted September 25th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
QUEEN’S PARK — NDP MPP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls) tabled a motion in the Ontario legislature Thursday calling on the Ford government to provide OHIP coverage for prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing for prostate cancer.
“Early detection of prostate cancer saves lives. When detected early, the survival rate for prostate cancer is close to 100 per cent. Ontario is currently one of only two Canadian provinces that do not cover the cost of the PSA test for men upon physician referral,” said Gates.
“We have universal health care coverage but somehow don’t cover this test which can save lives. Now, more than ever, we see the importance of access to health care. When people can’t spare the money they choose not to get tested, we can put an end to that and make sure everyone can get the test. This will catch more cases of prostate cancer early and save lives.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men with one in nine men diagnosed in their lifetime. In 2020, an estimated 9,800 Ontario men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 1,550 will die. On average, a late stage diagnosis costs $66,000 more than if the prostate cancer was caught early. If all men with Stage IV prostate cancer were diagnosed earlier, this is a savings of over $60 million every year.
Gates introduced a private member’s motion on OHIP coverage for PSA testing in 2019 and is now calling the bill for second reading, meaning the Ontario legislature will debate the bill and then vote on it. His motion is supported by the Canadian Cancer Society and was previously supported by Prostate Cancer Canada and Movember.
“This pandemic has shown us that hallway medicine can mean our hospitals become overrun in public health crisis. By having OHIP cover this medical procedure we can reduce the amount of people who will need cancer care and reduce the amount of hallway medicine in our province. They’ve had a year to review this – it is time for the government to ensure this life-saving test is available for everyone,” said Gates.
Quote from a top Doctor on the issue –
“For the one in nine men expected to be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, the news can be devastating. Early detection is key to giving the men receiving this news a better chance at survival, yet Ontario forces men to pay out of pocket when they make informed decisions about their health.
“We’ve made tremendous progress over the years and, if detected early, almost 100 per cent of individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer will survive at least five years or more.
“If detected at a later stage, then the survival rate drops to only 29 per cent. Money simply shouldn’t stand in the way of receiving a PSA test. CCS is calling on Ontario MPPs to come together and remove cost as a barrier for early detection.” – Dr. Stuart Edmonds, Executive Vice President of Mission, Research and Advocacy at the Canadian Cancer Society
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