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View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2011-12-09 13:53 [p.4278]
Madam Speaker, before I get into the essence of the bill, I want to respond to a few of the comments made by the member for Scarborough—Rouge River.
This is a bill on breast cancer screening. I know she is new to this chamber, but a royal recommendation is not permitted in a private member's bill. Funding of doctors is not something one can do through a private member's bill. Therefore, I think it is inappropriate to suggest it is something that could have been added to the bill.
May I also add that it is a bit disingenuous, in the sense that the member for Scarborough—Rouge River is an active supporter of the Ontario New Democratic Party; when it was in power, for the first time in Ontario's history it cut medical enrolment, so the root challenge we face in Ontario, in her riding, exists because of the party she supported when it was in office. If we do not train and graduate doctors, we will not have them in our ridings to work on the many essential medical needs.
With regard to the bill, one in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some time during their lives. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, over 24,000 Canadian women will have been diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. Sadly, 5,000 of them will lose their fight.
Cancer care has been a critical issue to me, and when I was presented with the opportunity to present a private member's bill, I knew instantly that I wanted to do something in this field. Every year, thousands of Barrie residents in my riding participate in the CIBC Run for the Cure. It really is inspiring to see so many people who care so much about battling this insidious disease.
While putting thought to this bill, I felt it was important not only for women but for all of us to be aware of the fact that screening for breast cancer can save lives. Providing women with accurate information about screening is therefore important and will ultimately help them make decisions that are right for them. This is the essence of Bill C-314. Breast cancer is more easily treated and, in most cases, curable when found early.
Dense breast tissue is one of the top risk factors for breast cancer, and it is important for women to be informed of this fact. This can be done when they are screened for breast cancer by a mammogram, but women who have breast dense tissue should also know that the potential cancer may not be detected because it cannot be seen on a mammogram and therefore diagnosed by radiologists. It appears white on mammograms and therefore is more challenging to detect.
What Bill C-314 would do is highlight the importance of being informed and work with the provinces and territories through the national screening program in order to ensure that women receive this information.
For many women, especially young women, who have a higher incidence of dense breast tissue, having this information is essential to their decision-making process. This knowledge will provide them with the tools they need to make personal health care decisions.
Women who are informed that they have dense breast tissue may need to go for a different type of screening, such as an ultrasound or an MRI. Possible cancers may be deciphered more readily by a specialist using this type of diagnostic testing.
We are fortunate in Canada to have screening programs for breast cancer. Our provinces and territories deliver these programs to detect breast cancer early, before it has spread, so that treatment can be started. Providing more information through these programs will help women and their doctors make well-informed decisions regarding breast cancer screening. Targeting dense breast tissue is one of the means by which, through this piece of legislation, we can make a tangible difference in the fight against breast cancer.
I know too many loved ones, friends and even colleagues on the Hill, who have been touched by cancer. Through this bill I hope to not only make a difference but hopefully save lives.
I hope I can count on the members of the House to support this private member's bill, Bill C-314.
Also, I am thankful to Andrea Paine, in the Minister of Health's office, for her assistance, and I thank also Dr. Rob Ballagh, from the city of Barrie; Councillor Bonnie Ainsworth; Mike Richmond, from Toronto; and my assistant in my Barrie office, Shawn Bubel, who assisted on the drafting of this bill.
In Barrie we are building a cancer centre right now. This is one of the items I discussed with our CEO, Janice Skot. I appreciate her advice that it is this type of initiative that can really help make a difference.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2011-10-24 11:06 [p.2365]
moved that Bill C-314, An Act respecting the awareness of screening among women with dense breast tissue, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
He said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to speak to my private member's bill, Bill C-314, An Act respecting the awareness of screening among women with dense breast tissue, which calls on the federal government to encourage the use of existing federal initiatives in order to increase awareness among Canadian women about the impact of having dense breast tissue and the complications it poses for breast cancer screening.
Breast cancer touches many Canadian women and their families and friends, and is the most common form of cancer in women. I know this is something Canadians from coast to coast to coast care deeply about. Just last month Barrie held its annual CIBC Run for the Cure in support of breast cancer research. I saw 2,000 residents out early on a cold and wet Sunday morning to support the battle against breast cancer. Runs like that occur across the country because Canadians are deeply concerned.
In my community of Barrie, in less than 12 months, the Royal Victoria Hospital's regional cancer care centre will open. There have been literally thousands of fundraising events over the last five years to support this very large cancer centre. It will help battle a variety of cancers, including of course, breast cancer.
This year it is estimated that about 23,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 5,000 women will die from this insidious disease. Over their lifetime, one in nine women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This is very difficult to accept. It touches many women and their loved ones. Sixty-four Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 14 will die of breast cancer every day. It is my sincere hope that over time this bill will help reduce those troubling numbers. Health sectors in other areas of the world are beginning to more aggressively target dense tissue to enable early detection of breast cancer.
It is important for all of us to be aware of the fact that screening for breast cancer can save lives. Providing women with accurate information about screening will help them make decisions that are right for them. The federal government supports a number of initiatives to support Canadians dealing with cancer.
Bill C-314 aims to raise awareness about dense breast tissue and breast cancer screening. It will help women and their doctors make well-informed decisions regarding breast cancer screening. It includes a number of elements, which I will briefly outline. I will also address initiatives currently under way to address them.
First, this bill requires the Government of Canada to assess whether gaps in information exist relating to breast density in the context of breast cancer screening. Second, this bill requires that approaches be identified, where needed, to improve information for women in order to: one, address the challenges of detecting breast cancer in women with dense breast tissue; and two, raise awareness concerning these challenges. Third, the bill requires the existing Canadian breast cancer screening initiative to share information on dense breast tissue and its relationship to breast cancer screening and any follow-up procedures that may be deemed necessary.
Canada is fortunate to have screening programs for breast cancer. The provinces and territories deliver these programs to detect breast cancer before it has spread so that treatment can be started. We are learning more and more from scientific research about breast cancer and its risk factors. New and better treatments are being developed. However, there is still much to learn. We know that good information is fundamental to the decisions that each of us makes with the advice of our doctors about our own health. This dialogue is the key to doctor-patient relationships.
Let me take a few moments to explain how the issue of breast density relates to breast cancer screening. First, breast density refers to the amount of tissue in the breast. Dense breasts have more tissue. Breast cancer screening is done using a mammogram, which is an X-ray of the breast. A woman's breast density can affect the accuracy of a mammogram and it may be more difficult for a doctor to see an abnormality. There could be cancer present if the breast tissue is dense because both cancer and dense breast tissue appear white on mammograms.
High breast density is also linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer, although it is not yet known why this is the case. We also do not know how common dense breast tissue is among Canadian women, although some statistics point to the fact that it could be as high as 40%. Providing women with information of what is known about breast density would help them make well-informed decisions about screening and would open the door for women to engage in follow-up procedures, such as an MRI or ultrasound, if they have dense breast tissue which could skew the mammogram.
In addition to raising awareness on breast density, the bill recognizes the responsibility of the provinces and territories for providing breast cancer screening. Provincial and territorial breast screening programs are invaluable in the early detection of breast cancer in Canadian women.
As noted in the bill, the federal government plays a role in breast cancer screening by facilitating the identification and adoption of effective practices in screening. We also support the sharing of information on screening methods and outcomes through our federal roles in research and surveillance.
Through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, our government provides funding to researchers to investigate the full spectrum of cancer prevention and control. One of the priorities of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research is early detection of cancer. The CIHR works with partners both nationally and internationally to advance its research priorities, including breast cancer research.
Our government has demonstrated its commitment to breast cancer screening by investing in the Canadian breast cancer screening initiative. We work with provincial and territorial governments to measure the performance of breast cancer screening programs across Canada. This means that all jurisdictions regularly share information on the screening programs and discuss what they are learning. They share best practices, discuss the challenges they are facing and the questions that are important to all of them.
Information sharing about ways to improve these programs ensures that women receive the full benefits of early detection. This includes providing women with information about all aspects of breast cancer screening. The federal, provincial and territorial national committee for the Canadian breast cancer screening initiative provides opportunities for provincial and territorial governments to work together to develop their screening recommendations and approaches. This committee is comprised of medical professionals and key stakeholders.
For example, the committee is currently looking at breast cancer mortality and improving screening for underserviced populations. We have the Canadian breast cancer screening database, which is a source of valuable information on breast cancer screening. Participating provincial and territorial screening programs contribute to the national database, which is used to monitor and evaluate breast cancer screening programs. Non-government organizations play a vital role in this process as well.
I am proud to say that our government is taking action on cancer through our continued investment in the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer which has led to the implementation of the Canadian strategy for cancer control. The partnership is the first of its kind and was established by our Conservative government. It covers the full spectrum of cancer control, from prevention to palliative and end-of-life care, policy to practice, and from research to health system applications.
Together with the cancer community, the partnership is accelerating the use of effective cancer prevention and control strategies. Its objectives are to reduce the number of cancer cases, minimize cancer-related deaths and improve patient quality of life.
In March of this year, our Prime Minister announced renewed funding of $250 million over five years, beginning on April 1, 2012. This will allow the partnership to continue its invaluable work. In the words of the Prime Minister:
We are making progress on prevention, diagnosis, treatment and hope, and in tracking our progress closely, the partnership is leading us on the path to a cure.
The partnership plays a key role in providing information to women on cancer screening, which aligns with the spirit of this bill. The bill also recognizes the important role of organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in providing reliable information that supports women in making decisions about their health.
All of us are familiar with the Canadian Cancer Society. This national volunteer organization works in cancer prevention, research, advocacy, information and support for all cancers.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation is a national volunteer organization dedicated to working toward a future without breast cancer. The foundation funds, supports and advocates for research, education and awareness programs, early diagnosis and effective treatment, as well as a positive quality of life for those living with breast cancer.
Women's health organizations, such as the Canadian Women's Health Network, raise awareness on many health issues faced by women in Canada, including breast cancer.
Working with the above-listed breast cancer stakeholders, the federal government will continue to raise awareness through existing initiatives on the issue of breast density in the context of breast cancer screening. These stakeholders will be very critical in our battle to raise awareness about breast density.
This bill is particularly timely given that October is breast cancer awareness month. Through efforts to raise awareness, Canadian women and their families can become more informed about breast cancer. They will learn about breast density and its implications for breast cancer screening. They will be able to make well-informed decisions based on this knowledge.
I would like to thank Andrea Paine at the Ministry of Health in Ottawa, Dr. Rob Ballagh of Barrie, Mike Richmond from Toronto, and my assistant in Barrie, Shawn Bubel, for their assistance in the drafting of the bill.
The bill provides an opportunity for the Government of Canada and the House to recognize the critical importance of raising awareness about breast density and breast cancer screening.
It would be an honour for me to have the support of all members in the House for this bill. Too many families have been touched by this form of cancer. I am hopeful that by ensuring women get the information they need which could lead to early detection, this legislation could potentially save lives.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2011-10-24 11:18 [p.2367]
Mr. Speaker, I am very proud that this government has worked closely with the provinces and territories to assist in enhancing health care in Canada. Let us not forget that this is the highest level of health care funding in our history to the provinces and territories through this federal government. With an increase of 6% a year we have seen record investments in health care in all areas.
The bill sets out that we would work with the provinces and territories on enhancing the breast cancer screening protocols. I am very proud of what this government has done on health care. It is not limited just to the support for the provinces and territories in this new investment, but with the Canadian cancer partnership and a variety of other partnerships this government again and again does whatever it can to enhance health care in Canada.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2011-10-24 11:19 [p.2367]
Mr. Speaker, that is one of the benefits of the bill. It encourages the sharing and pooling of information. There is a variety of standards, but now with the provinces, territories and the federal government working on the Canadian breast cancer screening initiative, we will start to see more of a balance in terms of protocols.
I also note that the Government of Canada is investing in the CIHR for breast cancer screening. The CIHR has made that an area of interest. There are a lot of things we do not know in terms of breast cancer. That is why the research done by the CIHR is critical, as is having an active dialogue with the provinces, territories and the federal government on breast cancer. Research and surveillance are going to be very much needed as we embark on this battle against breast cancer.
View Patrick Brown Profile
CPC (ON)
View Patrick Brown Profile
2011-10-24 11:21 [p.2367]
Mr. Speaker, we are learning more and more about breast cancer all the time. While it was not clear before, I know that in the U.S. and a few other jurisdictions they realized there were challenges with the screening due to the fact that dense breast tissue was skewing mammogram results. Possibly as high as 40% of females have dense breast tissue, which is a huge per cent of the population that we would have inadequate information on from a mammogram. Other health care jurisdictions are embarking on new screening initiatives, and this is an opportunity for us to learn from each other. Adopting more effective practices would be a very positive step for the Canadian fight against breast cancer.
In terms of why this is has not happened before, it is just that we had not learned about it before. This is something that Health Canada was looking into and it is something that was only started last year in the United States. This is something that was identified as a potential area where we could improve breast cancer screening. It is certainly worthy of the House to look into, if it could potentially save lives of 23,000 females who are, unfortunately, diagnosed with breast cancer every year.
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