The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era highlights innovative work underway and identifies improvements to boost cancer system capacity and save lives
TORONTO, June 15, 2022 /CNW/ – The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (the Partnership) today released a new report, The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era, that urges policymakers and health system leaders to consider cancer a priority in the wake of the pandemic.
Noting that time is of the essence, the report also shares innovative solutions already underway by partners in parts of Canada – which can be used as models for improvement by other communities across the country.
“Canada must not forget cancer when allocating healthcare resources as we continue to deal with the impacts of the pandemic,” said Dr. Craig Earle, CEO of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer. “The Partnership’s priority from the start of the pandemic was on meeting the needs of people with cancer whose disease did not stop, even as much of the world did, and our cancer system partners have done incredible work to deliver care during this challenging time. As we shift to pandemic recovery, we’re keeping our focus on cancer and we urge others to do the same.”
Lives are at stake. One study predicts the possibility of more than 20,000 additional cancer-related deaths over the next 10 years.i However, that could be reduced by almost 16,000 if the cancer system’s diagnostic and treatment capacity is increased 10% above pre-pandemic levels.ii
Putting the focus on cancer in key areas
“Strengthening Canada’s cancer system starts with getting a clear picture of what’s happening today, and what kinds of responses and investments will be needed for the future,” said Dr. Earle. “Policy-makers and cancer system leaders should take action now to focus on the key areas identified in The road to recovery, and can draw on the many examples of innovative, practical actions already underway across the country the report highlights.”
These actions and solutions can be found here: https://www.partnershipagainstcancer.ca/topics/cancer-in-covid-19-era/actions-solutions/
The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era identifies a number of challenges that arose during the pandemic, such as delays in cancer screening and diagnosis, disruption of cancer prevention services, treatment and care, and pressures on the healthcare workforce. This resulted in real impacts on real people, exacerbating health and social inequities, with a disproportionate effect on First Nations, Inuit and Métis.
The report notes that, as COVID-19 continues to disrupt Canada’s cancer system, attention needs to be given to three key focus areas to boost system capacity and save lives: (1) solving the healthcare human resources crunch, (2) preparing for a surge in cases, and (3) leveraging the potential of new ways of delivering care including those supported by digital technologies.
It also highlights the fact that, to improve care and outcomes for cancer patients, health equity must be at the forefront of Canada’s pandemic response and recovery.
Find out more in The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era
The report brings together recent data and research from partners across Canada, and it also shares examples and stories of innovative approaches already underway to improve cancer care.
“Throughout the pandemic, healthcare professionals and cancer system partners across Canada dedicated themselves to supporting patients and their families through a very difficult period,” said the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health. “Our government is committed to improving access to health care and supporting healthcare professionals to ensure Canadians have access to the care they deserve. This timely and insightful report provides examples and ideas to improve cancer care for patients everywhere.”
Share your thoughts, actions and innovations on the road to recovery using #FocusOnCancer.
About the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
As the steward of the Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control (the Strategy), the Partnership works with Canada’s cancer community to take action to ensure people in Canada have equitable access to quality cancer care, fewer people get cancer, more people survive cancer and those living with the disease have a better quality of life. This work is guided by the Strategy, which was refreshed for 2019 to 2029 and will help drive measurable change for all people in Canada affected by cancer. The Strategy includes eight priorities, which will tackle the most pressing challenges in cancer control as well as distinct First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples-specific priorities and actions reflecting Canada’s commitment to reconciliation. The Partnership oversees the implementation of the priorities in collaboration with organizations and individuals on the front lines of cancer care – the provinces and territories, health-care professionals, people living with cancer and those who care for them, First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, governments and organizations, and its funder Health Canada.
The road to recovery: Cancer in the COVID-19 era report supports the implementation of the Strategy. Addressing the impact of the pandemic will be a key consideration in the planning and implementation of the Partnership’s work with partners as we shift from pandemic response to pandemic recovery.
Learn more about the Partnership and the Strategy at www.partnershipagainstcancer.ca.
SOURCE Canadian Partnership Against Cancer
For further information: Gelek Badheytsang, Strategic Communications Lead, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, [email protected], 416-915-9222 x5977
Westmount Mall to open COVID-19 vaccination clinic for month of July – CTV News London
A new COVID-19 vaccination clinic may soon open in a mall near you.
According to a press release issued by the Middlesex-London Health Unit (MLHU) on Tuesday, the latest mall-based COVID-19 vaccination clinic is set to open in southwest London in early July.
Westmount Shopping Centre will be the home of the newest vaccination clinic and is slated to open on July 7.
In the press release, the MLHU said due to the previous success of the clinics at CF Masonville Place and White Oaks Mall, “The opening of this latest COVID-19 vaccination clinic continues the Health Unit’s strategy of creating easy and convenient ways for area residents to have optimal protection against the virus.”
The clinic will operate out of a space beside the Bulk Barrel located near the mall’s entrance one location, off Viscount Road.
It will be open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. throughout the month of July. It will operate on a walk-in basis, and individuals can receive any dose they are currently eligible for.
Dr. Alex Summers, MLHU medical officer of health said that due to the summer weather and more people spending time outdoors, Londoners might not be thinking about COVID-19. But, he hopes the new clinic will change that for the better.
“Our clinic at Westmount Shopping Centre will allow people who have not received all the doses they are eligible for to get vaccinated. This will provide additional protection against the COVID-19 virus that continues to circulate in our community.”
Likewise, Amanda Smith, property administrator at Westmount Shopping Centre is optimistic at the upcoming partnership with the MLHU.
“Westmount Shopping Centre Management is pleased to be collaborating with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, as they offer these vaccination services to our Centre and our community,” she said.
A list of the MLHU’s COVID-19 vaccination clinics can be found on the health unit’s website.
Vitamin D supplement 'overdosing' is possible and harmful, warn doctors – Medical Xpress
‘Overdosing’ on vitamin D supplements is both possible and harmful, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports after they treated a man who needed hospital admission for his excessive vitamin D intake.
‘Hypervitaminosis D’, as the condition is formerly known, is on the rise and linked to a wide range of potentially serious health issues, they highlight.
The case concerns a middle-aged man who was referred to hospital by his family doctor after complaining of recurrent vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, leg cramps, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), dry mouth, increased thirst, diarrhea, and weight loss (28 lbs or 12.7 kg).
These symptoms had been going on for nearly 3 months, and had started around 1 month after he began an intensive vitamin supplement regimen on the advice of a nutritional therapist.
The man had had various health issues, including tuberculosis, an inner ear tumor (left vestibular schwannoma), which had resulted in deafness in that ear, a build-up of fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus), bacterial meningitis, and chronic sinusitis.
He had been taking high doses of more than 20 over the counter supplements every day containing: vitamin D 50000 mg—the daily requirement is 600 mg or 400 IU; vitamin K2 100 mg (daily requirement 100–300 μg); vitamin C, vitamin B9 (folate) 1000 mg (daily requirement 400 μg); vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B6, omega-3 2000 mg twice daily (daily requirement 200–500 mg), plus several other vitamin, mineral, nutrient, and probiotic supplements.
Once symptoms developed, he stopped taking his daily supplement cocktail, but his symptoms didn’t go away.
The results of blood tests ordered by his family doctor revealed that he had very high levels of calcium and slightly raised levels of magnesium. And his vitamin D level was 7 times over the level required for sufficiency.
The tests also indicated that his kidneys weren’t working properly (acute kidney injury). The results of various X-rays and scans to check for cancer were normal.
The man stayed in hospital for 8 days, during which time he was given intravenous fluids to flush out his system and treated with bisphosphonates—drugs that are normally used to strengthen bones or lower excessive levels of calcium in the blood.
Two months after discharge from hospital, his calcium level had returned to normal, but his vitamin D level was still abnormally high.
“Globally, there is a growing trend of hypervitaminosis D, a clinical condition characterized by elevated serum vitamin D3 levels,” with women, children and surgical patients most likely to be affected, write the authors.
Recommended vitamin D levels can be obtained from the diet (eg wild mushrooms, oily fish), from exposure to sunlight, and supplements.
“Given its slow turnover (half-life of approximately 2 months), during which vitamin D toxicity develops, symptoms can last for several weeks,” warn the authors.
The symptoms of hypervitaminosis D are many and varied, they point out, and are mostly caused by excess calcium in the blood. They include drowsiness, confusion, apathy, psychosis, depression, stupor, coma, anorexia, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, peptic ulcers, pancreatitis, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythm, and kidney abnormalities, including renal failure.
Other associated features, such as keratopathy (inflammatory eye disease), joint stiffness (arthralgia), and hearing loss or deafness, have also been reported, they add.
This is just one case, and while hypervitaminosis D is on the rise, it is still relatively uncommon, caution the authors.
Nevertheless, complementary therapy, including the use of dietary supplements, is popular, and people may not realize that it’s possible to overdose on vitamin D, or the potential consequences of doing so, they say.
“This case report further highlights the potential toxicity of supplements that are largely considered safe until taken in unsafe amounts or in unsafe combinations,” they conclude.
Vitamin D intoxication and severe hypercalcaemia complicating nutritional supplements misuse, BMJ Case Reports (2022). DOI: 10.1136/bcr-2022-250553
British Medical Journal
Vitamin D supplement ‘overdosing’ is possible and harmful, warn doctors (2022, July 5)
retrieved 6 July 2022
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Pharmacists in London, Ont., hope medication shortage is resolved before cold and flu season – CBC.ca
An Ontario-wide shortage of cold and flu medication has led to partially empty shelves in pharmacies in London.
The Ontario Pharmacists Association told CBC News in April that drug stores were seeing an increase in people looking to treat symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections, due to COVID-19, influenza or the common cold, after mask mandates were lifted on March 21.
Months later, pharmacists in London say the shortage has been further exacerbated by allergy season and ongoing supply chain issues.
“Demand is the same, but we hear patients are going from one pharmacy to the other looking for the product,” said Gamal Awad, owner of Guardian Wonderland Pharmacy.
For the past month, wholesalers of over-the-counter medications for cold and flu have been unable to make their delivery dates. Pharmacies have lost out on sales, said Awad, while customers are scrambling for back-ordered items like cough syrup, Tylenol or Advil.
“The only thing we can ask our patients is to wait as we look back on our supplier website to see when those medications are going to be back online or when we can order them,” said Fadi Shatara, a pharmacist at Chapman’s Pharmacy.
The shortage includes medication for children, said Shatara. He advises parents to refer to their doctors for alternatives if they’re unable to find what they need.
Risk of transmission is low, for now
London’s medical officer of health, Dr. Alex Summers, said outdoor movement in summer generally brings a lower risk of respiratory illness transmission, even as COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted.
However, the absence of those measures and return to indoor activity mean risk for cold, flu and COVID-19 will rise in the fall and winter months.
“The more people gather indoors, the greater the risk of transmission. The less people are wearing masks, the greater the risk of transmission, the less people are vaccinated, the greater the risk of transmission,” he said.
That leaves pharmacists like Shatara bracing for the changing seasons and hoping the medication shortage is resolved by then.
“If it happens again, that’s going to be devastating, especially with the lack of medications,” he said. “Now, if that lasts until winter or fall, it’s going to have a huge impact on everyone.”
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