Facing breast cancer

A new report provides in-depth data on breast cancer surgery

Tina LaRose
Tina LaRose was diagnosed with breast cancer 11 years ago.

Tina LaRose is the face of breast cancer survivorship. Diagnosed at the age of 41, the Saskatchewan resident and member of Muscowpetung Saulteaux First Nation, was treated with two lumpectomies, the removal of 13 lymph nodes, four rounds of chemotherapy and 31 rounds of radiation. Cancer-free for 10 years now, she speaks openly about her experience with the disease and the strength she found to respond to it, in a bid to support other women travelling a similar journey. “I realized right away that this was a battle. I treated it aggressively and was clear in my own thoughts about all the decisions I made.”

For breast cancer patients and their health-care providers, determining the most appropriate treatment option can be based on numerous factors including size and location of tumour, overall health, and even personal preference. As Breast Cancer Surgery in Canada, 2007-2008 to 2009-2010, a new report released October 11, indicates that age, income and geographic location may also play a role.

Published by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the report examines the surgical care of breast cancer patients within one year of initial surgery – both mastectomy and lumpectomy (also known as breast-conserving surgery) – and provides the most recent pan-Canadian data on trends and variations in surgical breast treatment and related outcomes. The report also reveals cross-country variations in rates of mastectomy and rates of subsequent surgery following lumpectomy, pointing to the need for clinicians and policy makers to look further to understand what lies behind these trends so that they may respond appropriately.

Along with Breast Cancer Control in Canada: A System Performance Special Focus Report, released in September and the 2012 Cancer System Performance Report, the Partnership’s omnibus cancer control report due out in December 2012, these reports are part of the Partnership’s system performance initiative, which provides provinces and territories with standardized data on key indicators which can be used to measure performance and ultimately improve the quality of Canada’s cancer control system.